Does drinking 10 cups of water burn calories?

Quick Answer

Drinking water by itself does not burn a significant amount of calories. However, drinking more water can help burn calories indirectly by:

  • Increasing metabolism and fat burning – Staying hydrated improves metabolic function and increases fat burning during exercise.
  • Decreasing calorie intake – Drinking water before meals can help fill you up so you eat less calories.
  • Boosting workout performance – Proper hydration enhances workout intensity, burning more calories.

So while the act of drinking water does not burn many calories, it can help facilitate calorie burning through various mechanisms. Drinking the recommended daily amount of water is important for overall health and can aid weight loss efforts.

How Many Calories Does Drinking Water Burn?

Drinking plain water itself does not burn many calories.

Here is a breakdown of the calories burned from drinking 16 ounces (1 cup) of water, according to Harvard Health Publishing:

  • At 68°F (20°C) – 0 calories
  • At 100°F (37.8°C) – 8 calories

As you can see, colder water does not require the body to expend any calories warming it to body temperature. However, even warm or hot water only burns about 8 calories per 16 oz cup.

So to burn 100 calories, you would need to drink over 12 cups of 100°F water!

Clearly, plain water consumption does not significantly contribute to calorie expenditure. Even drinking the often recommended eight 8-oz cups (2 liters) of 68°F water per day would only burn 0 calories.

What About Cold Water?

Some sources claim that drinking cold water forces the body to heat the water to body temperature, burning extra calories in the process.

However, multiple studies show that the body’s resting energy expenditure does not increase after drinking 17-24 ounces (500-700 ml) of cold water. Drinking cold water does not appear to burn clinically significant calories.

The Thermic Effect of Water

All foods and beverages require some energy to digest, absorb, and metabolize. This is known as diet-induced thermogenesis or the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Research suggests the thermic effect of water is approximately 20-30% of the calories it contains. Since plain water is calorie-free, the thermic effect is negligible.

Even the small amount of calories in hot water would translate to an insignificant 2-3 calories burned through TEF.

Can Drinking More Water Help Burn Calories?

While drinking plain water does not burn many calories directly, staying well hydrated can promote calorie burning in the following ways:

1. Increased Metabolism

Being dehydrated negatively affects metabolic function. Studies show that low hydration is linked to reduced resting energy expenditure (calories burned at rest). This may be caused by impaired mitochondrial function and reduced oxygen utilization.

In contrast, good hydration status enhances metabolism. Drinking water can maximize resting energy expenditure by supporting optimal mitochondrial activity. Over time, this metabolic boost may help burn slightly more calories.

2. Increased Fat Burning

Research indicates staying hydrated can boost fat loss, especially during exercise.

A study in overweight women found that increasing water intake to 1 liter per day increased the amount of fat lost through diet and exercise by 44%. Proper water intake appears to enhance fat mobilization and utilization.

During exercise, hydration helps transport fat-liberating hormones like norepinephrine to adipose tissue. Drinking water also keeps your body from retaining anti-diuretic hormone, which restricts fat metabolism when dehydrated.

3. Reduced Calorie Intake

Drinking water before meals has been shown to temporarily induce feelings of fullness, causing people to eat fewer calories.

One 12-week study had overweight adults drink 16.9 oz (500 ml) of water 30 minutes before meals. The water group lost 44% more weight than the non-water group.

Replacing high-calorie beverages like juice or soda with water can also reduce daily calorie intake. Ultimately, drinking more water may facilitate calorie restriction and weight loss.

4. Enhanced Workout Performance

Maintaining hydration allows you to exercise at higher intensities for longer periods of time. This results in more calories burned during workouts.

Dehydration causes physical and mental fatigue, decreasing your ability to push yourself. Drinking enough water keeps your body cool, transports nutrients, and prevents muscle cramps. Proper hydration also improves motivation and focus.

Maximizing your water intake enables you to get the most out of your workouts, leading to greater overall calorie expenditure.

How Much Water Should You Drink to Lose Weight?

The Institute of Medicine recommends adult women consume 2.7 liters (91 oz) of total water per day from all foods and beverages. For men, the recommendation is 3.7 liters (125 oz) daily.

To optimize hydration for weight loss, you may need to go above these amounts. Aim for over 12 cups (96 oz) for women and 16 cups (128 oz) for men.

Tips to drink more water:

  • Carry a water bottle and take sips throughout the day
  • Drink a glass of water with every meal
  • Set reminders to drink water at regular intervals
  • Flavor your water with fruits or herbs to make it tastier
  • Substitute water anytime you would have opted for caloric drinks

Monitor your urine color to assess if you are properly hydrated. Pale yellow or clear urine means you are well hydrated. Dark yellow urine indicates dehydration.

Does Drinking Hot or Cold Water Matter?

Some people claim drinking cold water burns more calories because your body must heat the water to internal temperature. However, as mentioned earlier, research does not support this idea.

That said, there are a few differences between cold and hot water:

Cold Water

  • Absorbed faster – Enters bloodstream quicker than warm water
  • Quenches thirst more effectively
  • May boost metabolism slightly more than hot water

Hot Water

  • More comforting and relaxing
  • May help relieve congestion and cold/flu symptoms
  • Promotes blood flow
  • Can aid digestion and constipation relief

The temperature you drink water at comes down to personal preference. The most important thing is to make sure you are drinking enough water daily to stay hydrated.

The Bottom Line

Drinking plain water does not burn many calories, even if consumed cold or hot. However, proper hydration provides many indirect calorie-burning benefits:

  • Boosts metabolism and increases resting energy expenditure
  • Enhances fat breakdown, especially during exercise
  • Reduces calorie intake when consumed before meals
  • Allows for greater workout intensity and calorie burn

While water itself contains minimal calories, getting adequate intake from water and other beverages is essential for optimizing health and body composition.

Aim for 12-16 cups of total water daily as part of a weight loss regimen. Pay attention to your hydration levels and urine color. Keeping your body hydrated enhances metabolic function, exercise performance, and fat loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does drinking extra water help you lose weight?

Yes, adequate water intake can help facilitate weight loss through several mechanisms:

  • Boosts metabolic rate and energy expenditure
  • Increases lipolysis (fat breakdown) during exercise
  • Reduces calorie intake when consumed before meals
  • Allows for more intense workouts, burning more calories

Studies show that drinking 500-700 ml (17-24 oz) of water can temporarily increase resting energy expenditure by up to 30% for about an hour. Over time, staying hydrated may cause you to burn slightly more calories at rest.

Is it better to drink water hot or cold for weight loss?

Most evidence suggests the temperature of water does not impact weight loss or calories burned in a significant way. Cold water does not appear to burn extra calories despite requiring heating by the body. And hot water only contains minimal calories more than cold water.

For weight loss, focus more on consuming enough total water daily rather than temperature. Drink water at the temperature you find most palatable and enjoyable.

Should you drink water before or after a workout to lose weight?

It is important to stay hydrated both before and after exercise to maximize performance and recovery. Make sure to drink about 16-24 oz of water in the 2-4 hours leading up to your workout.

Continue sipping water during your workout to replenish fluid loss from sweat. Then drink another 16-24 oz within 30 minutes after your workout to rehydrate. Adequate hydration will allow you to workout harder and burn more calories.

Does lemon water help you lose weight?

Lemon water is low in calories and may provide some satiating benefits due to its potential effects on fullness hormones like leptin and ghrelin. However, more research is needed.

Lemon water also boosts flavor, which may help you drink more water daily. Consuming enough water is essential for keeping your metabolism and fat burning optimized. Overall, lemon water can aid weight loss through improved hydration.


Drinking plain water does not significantly increase calories burned, regardless of temperature. However, sustaining proper hydration provides many indirect calorie and fat burning benefits.

Adequate water intake enhances metabolic function, exercise performance, and feelings of fullness. While water is not a major calorie burner itself, getting enough of it facilitates weight loss through several mechanisms.

Aim for 12-16 cups of total water daily as part of a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet and active lifestyle. Pay attention to your hydration status and adjust your water intake accordingly. Keeping your body hydrated will help boost overall calorie expenditure and fat loss over time.

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