84 obese people took part in the study to see how much weight they lost by drinking water before a meal / Getty

A study found the participants who "preloaded" with water before every meal lost significantly more weight than those who didn't

Drinking around a pint of water before each meal could help obese people lose weight, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham monitored the progress of 84 obese people over a 12-week period.

The patients were given advice on how to adapt their lifestyle with better food and exercise. A total of 41 were then told to “preload” with 500ml of water before every meal and the remaining 43 were told to imagine they had a full stomach before eating.

Those who reported preloading before all three main meals lost an average of 4.3kg (9.48lbs) over the 12 weeks, whereas those who only preloaded once, or not at all, only lost an average of 0.8kg (1.76lbs).

Those who reported preloading before all three main meals lost an average of 4.3kg (9.48lbs) over the 12 weeks


Dr Helen Parretti, NIHR Clinical Lecturer at the university, explained, “The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity. Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight.

“When combined with brief instructions on how to increase your amount of physical activity and on a healthy diet, this seems to help people to achieve some extra weight loss – at a moderate and healthy rate. It’s something that doesn’t take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives.”



She said she hoped the study, which was published in the journal Obesity, would “make a real contribution to public health”.

It comes as a report published by the World Health Organisation in May suggested that three in every four British men and two in every three women will be overweight by 2030.

Speaking at the time, Dr Laura Webber, director of public health modelling at the UK Health Forum, said there had to be “a whole-society approach” to the problem and people needed to have more information about what they are eating, with better food labelling.