Does your body burn calories simply by warming up the water? Yes. But does drinking a lot of ice water help you lose weight, or keep weight off? The answer is qualified.
A calorie is the amount of energy it takes to raise water temperature. So it is safe to say that your body burns calories in order to raise the temperature of ice water up to your body temperature.
When you drink a 16-ounce glass of ice water, let's assume the temperature of the water is zero degrees Celsius. Body temperature is around 37 degrees Celsius. In the case of that glass of ice water, your body works to raise the temperature 16 ounces of ice water by 37 degrees C. In doing so, your body burns only burns around 17.5 Calories, and considering a 2,000-Calorie diet, that 17.5 is fairly insignificant.
But what if you adhere to the daily recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day? That's 64 ounces of water, and to warm up all that water during the day, your body burns 70 Calories. So, while ice water consumption won't replace exercise or a healthy diet, try drinking cold water instead of warm water and in the process, burn some extra Calories!
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Drinking ice water will help you burn a few extra calories in order to warm the water in your body. Your body will burn 74 calories for every 8 glasses of ice water that you drink in a day.
There are a few studies that show that ice water may have a mild thermodynamic influence -- meaning that your body may use a little more energy to metabolize ice water. But, in the grand scheme of what we should be doing to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, cold water is not going to do it. See my "fixer-upper house" blog on my home page. It is too easy to become distracted and focus on minutia, only to lose sight of the big picture -- we need to be eating healthier and moving more. And, if you enjoy ice water or room temp water, that's your choice.