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Water-Induced Thermogenesis Reconsidered: The Effects of Osmolality and Water
Temperature on Energy Expenditure after Drinking
Clive M. Brown, Abdul G. Dulloo and Jean-Pierre Montani
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 91, No. 9 3598-3602 2006
Ingestion of cold water. In a subgroup of six subjects, we tested the effects of
ingesting distilled water (7.5 ml/kg body weight, mean volume 4.95 ml) that had
been cooled to 3 C.
Indeed, we found that drinking distilled water that had been cooled to 3 C
slightly increased resting energy expenditure by an average of 15 kJ over 90
min. However, this is substantially lower than the calculated energy required to
heat the water from 3 to 37 C (495 ml x 34 C = 16830 cal = 70 kJ), suggesting
that most of the energy required for warming the water to body temperature is
more likely to be met by a reduction in body heat loss, probably by the
peripheral vasoconstriction that occurs after water drinking (5).
Conclusions: Drinking distilled water at room temperature did not increase
energy expenditure. Cooling the water before drinking only stimulated a small
thermogenic response, well below the theoretical energy cost of warming the
water to body temperature. These results cast doubt on water as a thermogenic
agent for the management of obesity.