Staying hydrated is health (and beauty!) 101, but do we really need to be knocking back several liters of H2O a day to reap the benefits? Not according to a new study: Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that just aiming for 1 to 3 extra glasses of water a day can do everything from cut calories to reduce fat and sugar intake—making it the world’s easiest way to amp up a healthy diet, not to mention free. Lazy girls, rejoice.
Sound too good to be true? The results don’t lie. For the 18,000-plus American adults who participated in the study, total daily calorie intake dropped by an average of 68 calories when they drank just one extra cup of water. That amount increased to 205 calories with three cups, so imagine six or eight.
Meanwhile, fat intake decreased by 1.7 grams with one cup (5 grams with three), and sugar dropped by 6 grams with one cup (17.8 with three). Sodium and cholesterol dipped too.
Not a fan of water? Make it more tempting to hydrate by keeping a bottle within arm’s reach at all times, or try infusing it with fruit or cucumbers. One thing that personally made it a habit for me was turning it into a (sort of lame, but effective) game—I always challenge myself to drink one cup an hour during the day. But as this study proves, even just drinking one cup every few hours ought to do it.
What’s your best strategy for getting enough water throughout the day? Sound off below!