Does drinking your water at different temperatures actually make a difference to your health?

Image: iStock

If there’s one health tip celebrities love dishing out more than “get eight hours of sleep“, it’s starting the day with a glass of water. Warm water, to be more specific.

Miranda Kerr‘s a big advocate. In an interview with Beauticate this week, she said, “I like to start the day with warm water and lemon [because] I feel like that really helps kick start digestion for the rest of the day.”

Her fellow Victoria’s Secret alumnus Lindsay Ellingson also subscribes to this philosophy. “I had a consultation with the ayurvedic specialist who told me that I should drink warm, filtered water in the morning. He said your body absorbs the warm water better than cold and that it’s really soothing to your stomach,” the supermodel told The Cut last week.

Miranda Kerr starts her day with warm water. (Image: Instagram)

There's equally positive press at the other end of the temperature gauge; you've probably heard, read or been told that a glass of ice cold water has the ability to burn calories.

These claims have been around for years and to the average person they seem, well, kind of legit. But according to accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist Sanchia Parker, the temperature of your drinking water doesn't make a significant difference to your health.

"There is plenty of information available about what different temperatures can do, but not much scientific evidence to back up these claims," she says.

Let's start with the supposed calorie-burning powers of iced water. There's an element of truth to this, but in summary no: tooth-numbingly cold water won't burn off the Tim Tam you just inhaled. (Post continues after gallery.)

"Our body has a set internal temperature, so if we drink a glass of cold water our body has to work to regulate our internal temperature. So theoretically, yes, a glass of icy cold water will burn more calories as our body brings it up to temperature," Parker explains.

"But the amount burnt is negligible. It would be such a small amount that it would not have any impact on weight."

Interestingly, she adds, the more sporty types among us might benefit from an icy drink. "There is some evidence to suggest that cold water can be helpful for athletes as it’s absorbed faster, helping the person to stay hydrated, which has a positive effect on performance."

As for warm water, many of the health claims surrounding it — for example, that it alleviates constipation — aren't necessarily dependent on temperature.

Gwyneth Paltrow also swears by warm water to start the day. (Image: Instagram)

"Being constipated can indicate a person needs more fluids, as water helps us keep regular and moves things along. But the temperature here doesn’t matter; having enough fluids is the most important thing," Parker says.

It's a similar story if you're aiming to lose weight. "Our body has a poor thirst mechanism, so when we are thirsty [it is] often mistaken for hunger signals ... If you start craving juicy, watery foods like pears, soups, tomatoes etc. this can be an indication that you need more water," Parker explains.

However, she says some people find warm water has a soothing effect on an upset stomach or menstrual pain, and there's no reason to abandon this. (Post continues after gallery.)

Although the temperature of your daily water intake doesn't really affect your health, Parker says it should be taken into account in extreme weather conditions. "Sipping on cold water during hot days or after a bout of intense activity will help to lower our body’s internal temperature, and having warm or hot water during winter can help to warm us up."

At the end of the day, however, it comes down to personal preference and what makes you feel good. And remember: the amount of fluid you consume is way more important than how many degrees Celsius it sits at.

"If you prefer to drink icy cold water, then go ahead! Or if you can only get your two litres in by sipping on warm water and lemon, that’s fine too – whatever works for you," Parker says.

Bottoms up.

Are you a cold water or hot water fan?

Sanchia Parker is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist who works in corporate health in Sydney and writes for her health blog Seed&Kilter.