After drinking a gallon of water a day for 40 days, I received numerous questions about what I did and any suggestions I had about trying it. One interesting question that popped up was if there was a strong difference between drinking cold water or drinking hot water.
The hard part about the hot vs. warm vs. cold water debate is that the science is fuzzy and if you do some research, you seem numerous reports, many talking about Ayurvedic medicine. While I do believe in a lot of holistic approaches, I’m huge on strict scientific evidence, and that’s hard to find regarding this subject.
Here’s what I do know, and what I would suggest if I were in your shoes.
First off, I don’t really see any benefit to hot water. After reading about the numerous benefits of hot water, I noticed that most of them revolved around the idea of being hydrated – not the temperature of the water alone.
So the real question is, is room temperature water (warm water) or cold water better? There is actually a strong difference, and each has different applications.
When it comes to cold water, it can be beneficial in helping you lose weight. When you drink cold water, especially really cold water, it lowers your body temperature, requiring your body to work to heat itself back up. This is also why it’s suggested to drink 500ml (roughly 16oz) of ice cold water immediately after waking up, as it jumps starts your metabolism (this is also suggested by Tim Ferriss in Four Hour Body).
When it comes to warm water, however, it’s better for hydration in general. Here’s the issue: When most people are dehydrated, they quickly look for cold water to help cool off. The problem is that you are more likely to drink less water with cold water, simply because it quenches your thirst quicker then warm water. As a result, you feel quenched, even though your body needs more water. This is also why I only drink warm water while doing the gallon challenge – it allowed me to overcome the psychological presupposition that I was quenched. I also like drinking warm water while working out, as it doesn’t cool me off and decrease my energy.
Keep in mind, when it comes to different water temperatures, that the most important aspect is to drink a lot. If possible, I personally would suggest to drink cold water as much as possible, as long as you remember to not under-drink just because it appears that your thirst is quenched. I’m not saying you specifically have to measure out how much you’re drinking in each sitting, but just remember: When it comes to water, more is always better.