Immediate pre-meal water ingestion decreases voluntary food intake in lean young males



Consuming 375–500 ml of water 30 min before a meal has been shown to reduce energy intake in older, but not younger adults. This study investigated the effects of ingesting a water preload immediately pre-meal (<1 min before eating) on within-meal ad libitum energy intake in non-obese young males.


Fourteen healthy males [mean (SD) age 27 (3) years, height 1.83 (0.05) m, body weight 80.47 (9.89) kg, body fat 17.5 (4.0) %, body mass index 24.0 (2.5) kg/m2] completed a familiarisation trial and two experimental trials in randomised counterbalanced order. Subjects arrived at the laboratory overnight fasted and consumed an ad libitum porridge breakfast. Immediately prior to the meal, subjects consumed either a 568 ml (1 pint) water preload (preload trial) or no preload (control trial). Visual analogue scale questionnaires to assess hunger, fullness and satisfaction were completed before and after the meal in both trials, as well as after the water preload.


Ad libitum energy intake was greater (P < 0.001) during control [2551 (562) kJ] than preload [1967 (454) kJ]. Ad libitum water intake was also greater (P < 0.001) during control [318 (226–975) ml] than preload [116 (0–581) ml]. The water preload increased fullness and satisfaction and decreased hunger compared to pre-trial (P < 0.001) and the control trial (P < 0.001).


This study demonstrates that consumption of a 568 ml water preload immediately before a meal reduces energy intake in non-obese young males. This might therefore be an effective strategy to suppress energy intake in this population and possibly assist with weight management.

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The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Lewis J. James.

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Corney, R.A., Sunderland, C. & James, L.J. Immediate pre-meal water ingestion decreases voluntary food intake in lean young males. Eur J Nutr 55, 815–819 (2016).

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  • Appetite
  • Preload
  • Fluid
  • Weight management
  • Hydration