(NBC) - From special diets to special diet pills and drills at the gym, the quest to lose weight has ballooned into a multi-billion dollar industry, but scientists are reporting weight loss success with an elixir that costs next to nothing: tap water.
A new study from Virginia Tech had 48 people eat low-calorie diets for about three months. They all lost at least 11 pounds, but half of the participants also drank two cups of water before their meals and lost an additional five pounds.
Experts say water could be an effective weight-loss tool for several reasons. It has no calories and may replace high-calorie sugary drinks like sodas. It could also be that water makes people feel fuller, causing them to eat less.
Clinical dietitians also say a lot of people eat when they're actually thirsty.
"You may find that once you drink the water, you really weren't as hungry as you thought you were," said dietitian Lisa Cimperman.
Whatever the reason for the weight loss, it doesn't seem like there is anything magical about water that might cause a person to shed pounds, but paired with a healthy diet and exercise, experts say water could be a good weight loss strategy.