- The best drink for weight loss is water since it has zero calories and can keep you hydrated.
- Other weight loss drinks include coffee, green tea, vegetable juice, and smoothies.
- If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid high-calorie, sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice.
While there’s no magical weight loss drink, certain beverages keep you satiated for longer, which may prevent you from eating excess calories throughout the day.
Here are some of the best drinks if you’re trying to lose weight.
Water is one of your best options for weight loss. Not only is it calorie-free, but it also fills you up so you don’t overeat, says Kristin Gillespie RD, a certified nutrition support clinician at Option Care Health.
In fact, a 2019 review found that increased water intake was associated with an average of 5.15% loss in body weight. So, for example, if you weighed 150 pounds, that would equate to about 7.7 pounds lost.
Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily, says Reisdorf. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water each day, or about 2.2 liters.
2. Green tea
Green tea contains catechins and caffeine — two compounds that may boost metabolism, says Gillespie. It also contains caffeine, which research indicates may help burn fat and increase how many calories you burn when at rest.
In fact, a small 2005 study of overweight and moderately obese subjects found that consuming a green tea mixture with 150 milligrams of caffeine for three months was linked to more weight loss and fat loss, as well as a more significant reduction in waist circumference, in comparison to those who drank a placebo.
3. Black tea
Like green tea, black tea is chock full of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols, which reduce your risk of obesity. For example, a 2018 review found that the polyphenols in tea reduce how much your body absorbs fats and sugars, thus decreasing your calorie intake and supporting weight loss.
Additionally, a small 2014 study found that drinking three cups of black tea a day for three months reduced a participants risk of weight gain and reduced their waist circumference by about 2 centimeters compared to a placebo group who consumed a drink with the same flavor and caffeine content, but without the polyphenols.
In fact, a small 2016 study found that overweight and obese women on a dairy-rich, non-calorie restricted diet who drank two servings of kefir drinks daily for eight weeks had significantly greater reductions in weight, BMI, and waist circumference than those who did not consume it.
5. Protein shakes
Protein powders like whey protein, soy protein, egg white protein, casein protein, and pea protein have all been shown to help with weight loss. That’s because the protein in a protein shake keeps you feeling fuller for longer and also takes more energy for your body to digest, so you burn more calories.
In fact, a 2014 review found that digesting proteins can increase how many calories your body burns at rest by 15% to 30% whereas carbs and fat only cause a 3% to 10% increase. That can help explain why high-protein diets burn more calories hours after eating compared to other diets.
Reisdorf recommends aiming for 20 grams of protein per shake.
6. Black coffee
Drinking coffee has been shown to decrease appetite and calorie intake throughout the day but also increase how many calories you burn at rest. For example, a small 2020 study found that drinking four cups of coffee a day for 24 weeks was associated with a 4% body fat reduction in overweight adults.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Acetic acid, the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, boosts metabolism and suppresses appetite, according to Gillespie. Additionally, it may slow down the rate at which food empties from the stomach, thereby keeping you feeling full for longer.
In fact, one small 2009 study in obese Japanese adults found consuming 2 tablespoons of vinegar mixed with a beverage daily caused an average loss of 3.7 pounds, a 0.9% decrease in body fat, and a loss of 0.75 inches from the waist over 12 weeks.
Try mixing 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of water and drinking it daily, says Gillespie. This will prevent it from eroding your enamel.
8. Vegetable juice
While eating vegetables is always preferable due to the higher fiber content, vegetable juice may still have a positive effect when it comes to weight loss.
For example, a small 2010 study found people with metabolic syndrome who drank one or more servings of low-sodium vegetable juice while on a calorie-restricted diet lost significantly more weight than those who did not during a 12-week period. Participants were also on a calorie-restricted diet.
Vegetable juice seems to trigger a decrease in leptin. Leptin is a hormone released by fat cells that’s linked to obesity when levels of it are too high in the blood.
9. Coconut water
Coconut water is a tasty low-calorie, low-carb addition to add to your drink options. It’s full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and manganese and is especially good for exercise. Thanks to electrolytes, like potassium, sodium, and magnesium, it’s a great way to keep you hydrated and feeling replenished.
More specifically, potassium helps remove extra sodium from your body. This helps reduce water weight and can support your weight loss goals. Just make sure you pick an option that doesn’t have added sugar or sodium.
10. Grapefruit juice
If you’re looking for a sweet-and-sour drink, grapefruit juice is a great nutrient-filled pick. Grapefruit has long been considered a staple of weight loss, and with good reason. It boosts powerful health benefits.
A small 2014 study concluded that mice consuming a high-fat diet gained about 18% less weight when they drank grapefruit juice than those that drank water and ate the same. Though it’s unclear how exactly this translates to humans, the positive findings in mice offer insight into why grapefruits are frequently featured in weight-loss diets.
11. Nut milk
Nut milks include varieties like almond and cashew milks. Compared to cow’s milk, nut milks are a low-calorie alternative that can help with weight loss. Substitute it for dairy milk in your cereal or coffee — or even enjoy it on its own — and enjoy fewer calories.
Nut milks still have vital nutrients, like calcium, and are fortified with other vitamins, too. These types of milk varieties are also boosted with water, so they’ll help you stay extra hydrated, which is great in supporting healthy weight loss. Ensure you’re using unsweetened versions to avoid extra sugar and calories, though.
12. Tart cherry juice
Tart cherry juice packs a powerful punch of healthy nutrients and antioxidants. It’s also packed with melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles.
Data from a small 2011 study showed that consuming a tart cherry juice concentrate provided an increase in melatonin, beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women. Getting better sleep is a powerful way in its own right to support weight loss goals.
Similarly, tart cherry juice has been shown to support exercise performance itself. According to a meta-analysis of 10 studies, tart cherry concentrate may improve exercise endurance, allowing you to work out longer and burn more calories.
Be mindful of varieties that include extra sugar, though, and be sure you’re getting the tart cherry variety for the most health benefits.
Smoothies are another powerful drink option to help with your weight loss goals. For example, they can make a yummy on-the-go breakfast to kickstart your day as well as your metabolism.
The key, however, is to make your own smoothies at home to avoid calorie-rich add-ins. For example, start with spinach or another green, leafy vegetable (which are linked to a lower risk of developing Type-2 diabetes). Then add in fruits that can help keep you feeling full and provide important nutrients, like berries and bananas. Finally, add water or a milk alternative.
Smoothies can help keep you hydrated and satiated in a much healthier way than alternatives, like fruit juices that have high sugar contents.
Drinks to avoid for weight loss
The following beverages should be avoided or limited as much as possible when you’re trying to lose weight.
Alcohol is high in calories and has minimal nutritional value, says Reisdorf. It also triggers cravings and bingeing. Plus, breaking down the toxins in alcohol means your body has less time to breakdown fat and calories, says Kenney.
Fruit juices are often packed with sugar. For example, there are about 31 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce serving of orange juice which is more than the 23 grams found in the same amount of cola. Plus, it lacks fiber meaning it won’t keep you full.
Ultimately, experts agree that the most effective way to lose weight is through lifestyle changes — namely, eating healthily, consuming fewer calories, sleeping enough, and exercising regularly.
That said, incorporating the aforementioned beverages into your diet may help to further your results by keeping you more satiated, increasing your basal metabolic rate, and suppressing your appetite.