Every once in a while I come across an old myth from the fitness industry that makes me chuckle. Someone took a tiny piece of barely accurate info and decided to make something of it. Recently I stumbled upon a classic- the cold water weight loss myth. “Drinking ice water in the morning helps you lose weight”
This, simply put, is bullshit. It’s sort of like saying if I jump off a building I will fly. Sure, briefly you might glide for a bit, until you crash into the pavement and die.
You see when you drink cold beverages your blood vessels shrink, your digestion becomes restricted (not ideal) and hydration is actually hindered. – Since your body is expending energy to regulate your temperature, it can lead to water loss.
Worse still is that when drinking cold water after a meal you create excess mucus in your body that deteriorates our immune system. – as a side note drinking water at any temperature DURING a meal washes away those much needed digestive enzymes so I recommend avoiding it altogether.
Let’s talk science.
The results of the “Obesity” study notwithstanding, if you’re adding ice cubes to your water because your trainer or coach says you’ll lose more weight drinking it cold, don’t bother. According to Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D., of The University of Alabama at Birmingham. You may burn a FEW extra calories by drinking cold water instead of warm, the difference is too minimal to impact the scale. I mean seriously minimal.
Drinking water has little effect on your metabolism, but it feels great when we need to cool off during a workout. Not only does chilled water help cool your core temperature — which rises during physical activity — but your stomach absorbs cold water faster than warm water, according to Columbia Health. Chill your water to 41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder to help prevent dehydration, which saps your needed workout energy. Just make sure you are aware that the cold water you are consuming is dampening that digestive fire which you need. I call this “playing with fire” see what I did there?
Where the truth to the myth comes into play.
Drinking a glass of ice water burns SOME calories, but not much. According to the University of Washington, you burn 8 more calories for every 1 cup of cold water you drink when compared to drinking 1 cup of room temperature water. So 8 calories eh? The reason you burn more calories drinking cold water than room temperature water is because your body is fighting, or burning energy, to keep your temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re trying to lose weight, those extra 8 calories, even if you drink a number of glasses of cold water a day, do not amount to much. I mean say you drink 8 glasses of water a day… That’s 64 calories. That’s sort of like what, a crumb of a timbit? I’ll stick to warm water or room temperature and keep that digestion process tight. You’ll digest your food better, utilize more of the nutrients and balance your hormones more efficiently when you do this. That means helping keep some of that cortisol storing visceral fat at bay.
Want a better way to stay hydrated? Try my favourite electrolyte drink:
8 ounces coconut water
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 lemon freshly squeezed
Drink and enjoy!