London: Drinking 500 ml of tap water half an hour before eating main meals may help reduce weight, according to researchers from the University of Birmingham. They believe that the simple intervention could be hugely beneficial and be easily promoted by healthcare professionals and through public health campaigns. 

The study, published in the journal Obesity, showed encouraging initial results for the trial and the team hope that the findings will inform further research into the benefits of water preloading before meals. According to a release from the University, obese adult participants were recruited from general practices and monitored over a 12-week period. 

Each of the participants, all adults with obesity, were given a weight management consultation where they were advised on how to adapt their lifestyle and improve their diet and levels of physical activity. Forty one of those recruited were asked to preload with water and 43 were advised to imagine that they had a full stomach before eating. 

Those in the group who were instructed to 'preload' with water lost, on average 1.3 Kgs more than those in the control group. Those who reported preloading before all three main meals in the day reported a loss of 4.3 kgs over the 12 weeks, whereas those who only preloaded once, or not at all, only lost an average of 0.8 kg. 

Helen Parretti, NIHR Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, 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 achieve some extra weight loss, at a moderate and healthy rate," she said.

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