When it comes to losing weight, many individuals know that the correct amount of exercise paired with healthy eating is the way to go. However, this doesn’t stop individuals from employing other small tactics into their routines to help the weight come off faster. As we all know, weight loss only occurs when there are more calories burned than there are eaten and weight is gained when there is a surplus of calories. When we look at how our bodies burn calories, we see that the body can burn it through your basal metabolic rate, through physical activity, and through digestion. The cold water technique uses the understanding that our metabolic rate will need to be increased in order to warm up the water we have consumed. Here is what you need to know about it and why it is a popular myth in today’s health and wellness world.
When Did The Cold Water Technique Gain Traction?
Although there had been plenty of studies done on the thermogenesis of food, which is essentially how many calories it takes for your body to metabolize food, the studies never showed a significant result of calorie burn. But in 2003, a German research team chose to study fourteen participants and found that when they consumed ice water, they were able to boost their caloric expenditure. According to the study, this expenditure was increased by about 30% for over an hour, resulting in a 100 calorie burn per day with two litres of cold water. Now two litres of cold water a day is quite a lot to consume but for 100 calories burned a day, that’s a pretty major burn considering how much exercise it takes just to burn 100-200 calories off. Unfortunately, later on, it was found that the way the study measured caloric expenditure was flawed and that there wasn’t actually a 30% rise in metabolic rate but rather a very small statistical rise in calories spent.
So Does Ice Water Truly Burn Calories?
Yes, it does. Your body will work to bring any cold water that you consume up to the internal temperature through your metabolic system. It’s like when you place an ice cube into a warm drink, the drink will use up the energy to melt down the ice cube. Your body will use up the energy to heat that water up to match the environment within your body. So with this said, let’s take a look at how significant or insignificant this calorie burn is.
- It takes one calorie to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water up by one degree Celsius. The important distinction here is that calories are case-sensitive, meaning that a calorie and a Calorie are different. A calorie is defined by the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree, whereas Calories are the amount of energy found in food.
- With this said, a chocolate bar that is 160 Calories is actually 160,000 calories. This conversion applies across the board so, burning 100 Calories is the same as burning 100,000 calories.
- So let’s say you drink a 16-ounce or 0.5-litre glass of ice water. How many calories are you burning to heat that water up? Well, ice water sits at zero degrees Celsius and your body sits at an estimated 37 degrees Celsius. If it takes 1 calorie to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius, that’s approximately 473.18 grams in 16 ounces of water. With this said, your body would need to burn 17,508 calories or 17.5 Calories. On a 2,000 Calorie diet, that’s not very much!
- But what if you multiply this by the regular eight-ounce glasses a day routine? It ends up being about 70 Calories a day or 490 Calories across 7 days.
All in all, drinking ice cold water should not replace healthy eating or exercise, but it can be used to help you burn away some extra calories or completely place drinks that would otherwise cause you to net a surplus of calories, like soda, coffee, or alcohol.