You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty. It’s almost too easy: dieters everywhere have heard this advice for decades, but now it’s been backed up by MRI science.
The study, conducted by Wageningen University in the Netherlands, worked with 19 participants to collect the data. Done in three parts, the research looked at MRI scans of the stomach, of the brain, and quizzed participants on how satisfied they were after their meals. Each participant was given a large milkshake followed by either a small (50 mL) or large (350 mL) glass of water; the stomach MRI revealed that the larger glass of water doubled the stomach content as opposed to the small glass. Additionally, the subjects claimed they felt fuller and more satisfied.
When the researchers studied the brain MRI scans, they found that the region of the brain called the mid-temporal gyrus was activated in association with increased water intake. The researchers will use this information to continue studying how simple resolutions like drinking more water at mealtime can promote healthier eating habits.
Says Guido Camps, lead author of the study: “…we’ve found that simply adding water increases stomach distension, curbs appetite in the short term and increases regional brain activity.”