What Are the Best Drinks for Weight Loss?
Make no mistake that water is a staple drink for weight loss, but you can get a bit more creative with your fluid intake to enhance performance and results. (Hopefully, you didn't come here expecting to read about the miracle of "detox teas" for weight loss.)
Despite the popularity of "detox teas" you see on social media these days, they are essentially just diuretic concoctions that make you urinate more frequently. So yes, drinking detox tea can help you lose weight temporarily by reducing your water weight. But they won't help you lose the weight that matters for long-term results: body fat.
In reality, dehydrating yourself will just make it harder to lose weight. We've all heard the rule-of-thumb for hydration is to drink eight glasses of water per day, which is equivalent to 64 fluid ounces (2 liters). For active individuals that want to perform optimally in the gym, that's likely not enough fluids.
Research suggests that water intake for those who engage in vigorous exercise several times per week should be less than 30 mL per kg of body weight . (If you're not familiar with the metric system, 1 kg = 2.2 lbs.) For example, an active 100-kg (220 lbs) adult should aim for at least 3,000 mL (3 L) of fluids per day. That amount may need to be even greater if you train, work, and/or live in a hot and humid environment.
Now, does that mean you should carry a gallon jug of water with you wherever you go? Not necessarily. As long as you're drinking some fluids every 30-45 minutes throughout the day, you should have no problem staying hydrated. In most settings, refilling a small bottle with cold water every so often is more practical than hauling around a gallon jug of lukewarm water all day.
With that in mind, this article will fill you in on the best drinks to lose weight and how they can help you shed pounds faster.
There's a reason coffee is among the most widely consumed beverages across the globe. Fresh-brewed black coffee is virtually calorie-free and one of the best drinks to lose weight since it contains caffeine. This natural stimulant helps increase fatty acid oxidation (read: fat burning), energy, and motivation, while also suppressing appetite .
But don't misconstrue the above as saying you should drink ten cups of coffee a day to lose weight. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to side effects like irritability, shakiness, heart palpitations, and making it hard to fall asleep at night. Not to mention, the more coffee you drink, the more likely you are to develop a tolerance to caffeine.
Research suggests that an efficacious caffeine dose for weight loss is 2 - 5 mg per kilogram of body weight . If you weigh 80 kg, you should aim for around 160 - 400 mg of caffeine per day. For reference, the average cup (8 oz) of fresh-brewed black coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine. The best option is to drink some coffee with breakfast and then again in the early afternoon if you want a little extra kick.
Also, be aware that caffeine is a natural diuretic, meaning coffee isn't exactly ideal for hydration. If you drink multiple cups of coffee per day, you'll want to compensate by increasing your water intake.
And you should not be adding tons of sugar or creamer to your coffee if your goal is to lose weight. Please don't fall into the trap of guzzling down a large Starbucks mocha frappuccino (which packs over 600 calories!) every morning; it's not going to help you lose weight.
Tea (Note: Not "Detox Teas")
Herbal, black, and green teas are great drinks for weight loss due to their abundance of polyphenols and, when applicable, caffeine content. In particular, green tea has a high amount of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol that reduces oxidative stress, enhances cardiovascular function, suppresses appetite, and may even have anti-cancer properties .
Moreover, a recent meta-analysis found that regular consumption of EGCG in conjunction with small amounts of caffeine (which is also found in green tea) not only promotes weight loss but also helps sustain body weight after a period of losing weight .
As with coffee, don't consume caffeinated tea too close to bedtime as it can interfere with your sleep-wake cycles. And, of course, avoid sugary iced tea drinks if your goal is to lose weight. Instead, make your own iced tea by fresh-brewing loose leaf tea, chilling it, and then adding a natural calorie-free sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.
And if you're not a fan of tea, you can still get the benefits of green tea polyphenols by supplementing with green tea leaf extract.
Apple Cider Vinegar
While apple cider vinegar isn't something you should drink by the bottle (unless you want to destroy your esophagus), small shots of it prior to eating may facilitate weight loss.
Some studies have shown that consuming one tbsp of apple cider vinegar before meals can improve blood sugar and blood lipid profiles by delaying the gastric emptying rate of food . This also has the benefit of making people feel fuller when they're eating, which can reduce the likelihood of overshooting calorie needs. In fact, apple cider vinegar is becoming a more common alternative treatment for people with high LDL cholesterol and type-2 diabetes.
However, exercise moderation with apple cider vinegar; consuming large amounts of it, whether in liquid or tablet form, can damage the soft tissues of the alimentary canal .
For weight loss and general health, try taking 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (with the mother) up to three times per day, preferably right before meals. 1 tbsp provides about 750 mg of pure acetic acid, the primary active component of apple cider vinegar.
If you can't tolerate the taste, dilute the vinegar in some water or low-calorie fruit juice. You can also use it as a dressing on foods like rice and leafy greens.
Burn-XT Thermogenic Powder
Shameless plug time! Burn-XT Thermogenic Fat Burner Powder is a delicious drink mix designed to facilitate weight loss with clinically studied ingredients, including Capsimax cayenne pepper extract, acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), caffeine, green tea leaf extract, and Bioperine black pepper extract. These active ingredients are much more than you get from energy drinks, which are usually nothing more than some caffeine and B vitamins.
Simply add a scoop of Burn-XT to your water bottle and give it a few shakes for a flavorful fat-burning boost that keeps your energy revving and appetite at bay for hours on end.
Last but not least on our list of drinks for weight loss is good ol' water -- the most essential (and abundant) fluid on Earth. Water is at the core of innumerable biological processes. Every cell in the human body needs water for carrying out a myriad of metabolic reactions.
Hence, we can't live much longer than a week without drinking water.
However, not all water is created equal. Depending on where you get your water from, it may contain high amounts of impurities and environmental toxins (e.g., heavy metals) that are detrimental to your health and well-being .
Arguably, the best water source is fresh spring water, also called mineral water, since it contains micronutrients like calcium, sulfate, bicarbonate, sodium, and magnesium. The advantages of mineral water are substantiated in a recent research review that suggests it enhances everything from bone health to cardiovascular function and even weight loss .
Unfortunately, it's tough to track down natural mineral water springs that are open to the public since many of them are commercialized nowadays. If you can't find an open-source mineral water spring, there are tons of bottled varieties available at grocery stores and supermarkets, such as San Pellegrino, Evian, and La Croix. (Ya know, the "boujee" stuff.)
If you're feeling extra, toss some fresh lemon or cucumber slices in your water for a flavor boost. These are natural sources of pectin, a dietary fiber that binds to cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and slows gastric emptying rate (thereby promoting satiety) .
What to Drink to Lose Weight: Wrap-up
Now you know what to drink for weight loss, go hydrate! Remember to sip on fluids throughout the day and monitor your urine color; if it's dark yellow/orange, you're not drinking enough. If it's clear, you're good to go. If it's red, purple, green, or blue, call your doctor...
And for the coffee lovers out there, you should plan on drinking a little extra water to compensate for the diuretic effects of caffeine. Speaking of caffeine, you can learn more about how it impacts exercise and body weight in our Guide to Fat-Loss Ingredients.