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Weight loss question: Drinking cold water increases weight or not?

Updated on April 4, 2011

This was a question from one of my friends at facebook: I am undergoing a weight loss program and I have recently been told by a yoga expert (although I am undergoing my weight loss program in the gym) that drinking ice cold water or cold water is fattening and one should always consume water at room temperature, but as the summers have approached one cannot do without cold water but how can cold water be fattening or reduce or hamper the weight loss program for a person? Please clear my doubts.

Here is my answer: The surface area contact of the water, the amount of water, and the amount of heat already residing internally would cause the water to be heated on contact.

The amount of heat it would take to warm 500 ml of icy cold water, if you were to drink it all very quickly, is less than 2 calories - because the heat already exists and it will begin heating up the water on contact, and the heat lost is not enough to trigger active thermogenesis.

Take a piece of ice and hold it on your arm. Now after 2 minutes remove the ice. Touch your arm. It’s cold, right? Wait 2 minutes and touch your arm again. It’s still cold? Your body will simply allow the heat from surrounding tissues to gradually reheat the area you put the ice on.

Fat lady on the bike
Fat lady on the bike | Source

So it doesn't actively try to reheat the area. Your body only spends a significant amount of energy “heating your body” if you were out in a blizzard and started shivering. Shivering is caused by thousands of tiny muscles all contracting against one another in an effort to increase body heat. That’s about the only active way your body has of “heating up” anything, and I have never seen anyone start shivering after drinking cold water. The amount of heat lost is replaced gradually, and any internal function to produce more heat would not exceed an effort requiring more than 2 or 3 calories of energy.

So hot water does not improve digestion. Cold water does not burn calories. This theory doesn’t hold water; however, drinking good amount of water per day has multiple benefits, so hot or cold, drink at least 3 liters as a general guideline. Also, the exact answer for your question is that drinking cold water will not increase or decrease your weight and will not have any effect on your weight loss program.


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      Miriam 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info, I've been constantly told that cold water is fattening and that it also enlarges the stomach. Now I know better.

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      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is the reason why I have cleared all the myths in such a detail. Thanks for your comment Margie.

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      margaret 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info. I had always been told that cold water burns more calories. Then I was told that hot tea would flush out fat. It looks like neither is true. Interesting.