Does Drinking Cold Water Boost Your Metabolism?

We take a look at whether the temperature of your drinking water affects metabolism.

January 12, 2021
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Photo by: Claudia Miranda / EyeEm

Claudia Miranda / EyeEm

Nutrition experts agree that drinking water helps keep you hydrated. Our bodies need fluids to maintain every function, including work by the muscles, brain and heart. However, there are claims that drinking cold water can help boost your metabolism. Here’s a look into this theory and if it is really true.

Your Body Needs Water to Function Optimally

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drinking enough water daily is important to stay healthy. Water can help prevent dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, mood changes, unclear thinking, overheating, constipation and even kidney stones.

Water helps our bodies in many ways, including regulating temperature, lubricating and cushioning joints, protecting our spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and getting rid of waste. How much water you need depends on your age and gender. Women need about 11.5 cups per day while men need about 15.5 cups per day — though that number increases if you exercise regularly. These estimates include the fluids you take in from food and beverages; you get 20% of the water your body needs from foods high in fluid content, like fruits and vegetables, while 80% of the water you need comes from actual fluids. It’s recommended to drink water as it is calorie-free.

Keep in mind, your body’s need for water increases during specific circumstances: If you are more physically active or live in a hot climate, for example, your need for fluids increases. If you have a fever or diarrhea, or you’re vomiting, your body will need more water.

Does Drinking Cold Water Boost Metabolism?

According to the University of Washington, drinking cold water will increase metabolism — but only slightly. When you drink a cup of ice water, you burn about 8 more calories than when you drink room temperature water. This is because your body works to increase the temperature of the ice water to your body temperature. So, if you drink 8 cups of ice water a day, that’s a total of 80 calories. The University of Washington points out, “Drinking cold water makes such a small dent in the calorie balance that it will not help you lose weight if your eating and exercise pattern stay the same.”

Bottom Line

Drinking water is essential to keep your body functioning properly. Drinking ice-cold water doesn’t boost your metabolism much — only slightly and briefly — and doesn’t make a big difference in the larger scheme of things. No matter whether you like your water cold, at room temperature or warm, just make sure to get enough throughout the day.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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