Looks like we're adding weight loss to the endless list of benefits of drinking water

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen
August 30, 2015
Corbis Images

Fancy a cocktail before dinner? If you're trying to lose weight, make it a double H2O on the rocks. According to a new British study, downing water before a meal can help you drop pounds-without making any other changes to your diet. (Cue jawdrop.) (Bored with what's in your bottle? Try one of these 8 Infused Water Recipes to Upgrade Your H2O.)

The study is almost as simple as the findings: Researchers recruited 84 adults looking to lose weight and had one group drink 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before eating while the second group was asked to simply imagine their stomachs feeling very full before eating. Other than an initial consultation with a dietitian, participants were given no further advice or instructions on how to lose weight. (Fun fact: To ensure the water group was drinking as much as they were supposed to, their urine output was collected intermittently and measured for 24 hours each time. Oh, the things we'll do for science!)

After 12 weeks, the scientists weighed the participants and discovered the water-guzzling group dropped almost three more pounds than the poor folks just imagining feeling full. The scientists speculated that the water helped people feel more full, naturally curbing their appetite and causing them to eat less. Plus, your body sometimes cues hunger when it's actually dehydrated, so you can avoid eating when you don't actually need the fuel. (It's one of 5 Signs of Dehydration-Besides the Color of Your Pee.)

And while three pounds may not sound like much at first, it seems like a pretty good deal when you consider that all you have to do is drink a couple extra glasses of water before you eat (and you'll score some hydration to boot). At best, you'll be down a few extra pounds, and gain brighter skin, a sharper mind, and a healthier heart-at worst, you'll just have to pee more. (But hey, at least no one is measuring it!) Oh, yea-and water is essentially free, making it the cheapest diet aid ever.

Sometimes it's the simplest things that work the best.