Barley water for weight loss – everything you need to know

Barley is an excellent source of dietary fiber. It is a nutritious alternative to rice in a weight loss diet.

Compared to other whole grain options, barley is lower in fat. You can use barley in making breads, soups and stews and as a source of malt for alcoholic beverages, especially beer.

Of all the barley forms available, barley water is the most beneficial. Barley water is an ancient Greek remedy that is still prevalent today. It cleanses the body of toxins while improving metabolism and digestion.

What is Barley Water?

Barley water is a traditional drink that is drunk in many cultures around the world. To prepare barley water, boil barley grains in water and then simply strain it. You can also add other ingredients like grated ginger, cinnamon sticks, or lemon juice to the water while it’s boiling to add flavor.

Barley water has a mild, nutty flavor with no overt flavor, so people often add other juices or sweeteners. However, adding sugar or sweeteners to barley water will negate its benefits as a wellness drink for weight loss.

Like barley grains, barley water also contains essential vitamins and minerals. It is a replenishing drink full of electrolytes, making it a good drink for athletes, anyone who is dehydrated and those who are sick.

That is why barley water is a healthy substitute for energy drinks, juices, lemonade or sports drinks. Depending on the amount of unsweetened lemon juice you use to flavor the barley water, it can be a good source of vitamin C.

The nutritional profile of unfiltered, unsweetened barley water is as follows:

  • Vitamins: Vitamin B complex
  • Minerals: Manganese, selenium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and zinc
  • Dietary fiber
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytochemicals

Benefits of barley water for weight loss

Here are a few ways barley water helps you lose weight:

Rich in fiber

Barley water contains dietary fiber. It helps you feel full longer and reduces cravings. Satiety prevents you from overeating or eating junk food.

When you are hungry, you tend to eat what is available. When your stomach is full, you are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods or eat mindlessly. So when combined with a healthy diet, barley water can help you lose weight.

Keeps you hydrated

Barley water keeps you hydrated. Staying hydrated has been necessary ever since studies have shown a significant association between insufficient hydration, increased BMI and obesity.

Aside from that, the electrolytes and minerals in barley water make it a drink suitable for post-workout replenishment.

Maintains blood sugar levels

Weight gain and diabetes have a strong correlation. A studies shows that fluctuations in glucose levels in diabetes and prediabetes often give rise to insulin resistance.

Poor insulin sensitivity or high insulin resistance can make it more difficult to lose weight. Thus, stabilizing blood sugar is essential for weight management.

Barley water is a low-glycemic drink with a lot of fiber and negligible fat. As a result, it helps lower high blood sugar levels. It also prevents further weight gain associated with the condition. However, people with diabetes should drink barley water without sugar or sweeteners.

Research shows that barley and its nutritional products help stabilize your postprandial blood glucose. Therefore, drinking barley water after your meal limits possible blood sugar spikes.

If you’re wondering how different foods affect your blood sugar, the HealthifyPRO CGM can help. It tracks your real-time glucose response to everything you eat throughout the day. This way you can see how different foods affect your blood sugar.

Improves digestion

According to Ayurveda, barley water is a digestive aid. It can treat stomach and intestinal problems. This is due to the high amount of fiber in barley water.

In addition, the beta-glucans in the barley’s cell walls cleanse the body by flushing out toxins. Therefore, detoxification and a well-functioning digestive system are essential for weight loss. Barley water is also a light drink and easy on the stomach.

The HealthifyMe note

Barley water is rich in fiber and very low in fat. Therefore, it increases your satiety. As a result, it lowers your overall calorie intake. The fiber in barley also promotes better digestion and cleanses your body of toxins. In addition, it helps control blood sugar levels. Consequently, barley water can prevent weight gain from insulin resistance. But this doesn’t mean you can indulge in an unhealthy diet and expect barley water to do its job. It is still essential to eat a balanced diet.

How to make barley water for weight loss?

Making barley water at home is healthier and cheaper than buying it in a store. You can use peeled or pearl barley. However, hulled barley is more nutritious than polished pearl barley. Hulled barley is a whole grain barley while pearl barley is not.

Pearl barley and hulled barley have similar flavors, but their textures are different. The kernels of hulled barley remain tougher and tougher, while pearl barley softens during cooking.

Pearl barley contains only about a third of the calories of white rice. Although hulled barley has the same number of calories as white rice, it contains more protein and dietary fiber, making it a more nutritious type of barley.

Here’s a simple recipe for homemade barley water:

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 1


  • Barley: 1/4 cup or 2 tbsp
  • Water: 1 1/2 cups
  • A pinch of salt
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Method of preparation

  • Boil water and barley in a saucepan over low heat for 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Add salt and lemon juice to taste.
  • Add a cinnamon stick or grated ginger to add more flavor to the barley water. All these herbs are weight loss friendly.
  • Strain and collect the barley water
  • Refrigerate the barley water for 30 minutes if you want to serve it cold

Best time to drink barley water and precautions to note

While the best time to drink barley water for weight loss is in the morning on an empty stomach, you can drink a glass of barley water 2-3 times a day.

However, it is essential to note that barley water is a diuretic. So drink a maximum of 4-6 glasses a day. Too much barley water can lead to stomach irritation and small intestine irritation in some people.

Also, make sure that your barley water recipe does not contain added sugars or sweeteners. If you want to lose weight with barley water or improve your eating habits, HealthifyMe’s certified dietitians will help you with that.

They design a personalized diet plan that fits your lifestyle and delivers lasting results.


Barley water is a weight-loss friendly drink that can give you a boost of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Unboiled barley water is rich in fiber, which improves your digestion and keeps you feeling full longer.

And because it’s very low in fat and hydrating, barley water can help you manage your weight in the long run when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

As with anything else, it is important to moderate your barley water intake to avoid side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How much weight can you lose with barley?

A. The amount of weight you lose is not determined by the amount of barley you eat or the amount of barley water you drink. Instead, it depends on multiple factors. Calorie deficit always plays an important role. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) weekly by following a balanced calorie-restricted diet and regular exercise.

Q. Which is better for weight loss, barley or oats?

A. You can choose oats or barley depending on your nutritional needs. Both grains have different benefits that make them ideal for certain diets. For example, barley has a lower saturated fat content and a lower glycemic index, but more fiber than oats. As a result, it is more effective at controlling blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for diabetics looking to lose weight. Plus, hulled barley provides 12 grams of protein per serving, while oatmeal has only half that. So if protein intake is your main nutritional goal, barley is the better choice.

Q. When should I drink barley water for weight loss?

A. You can drink barley water at any time, but it is most effective in the morning on an empty stomach. It ensures that your body can absorb the nutrients more efficiently and provides a nutritious start to your day. The smart way is to drink 2-3 glasses of barley water throughout the day, evenly spaced.

Q. Can barley water reduce belly fat?

A. Barley water is an excellent addition to any diet if you want to lose weight. It can potentially reduce belly fat over time. Plus, its satiating properties help control hunger and cravings by helping you feel fuller for longer. As a result, it leads to less calorie consumption and gradual weight loss. In addition, the cholesterol-lowering nature of barley is also beneficial in the long run. Unfortunately, high cholesterol is a risk factor for developing belly fat. However, as with any weight loss journey, a balanced diet and moderate to high intensity exercise are necessary for lasting results.

Q. What are the side effects of barley?

A. Barley and its associated water are safe to consume in moderation. However, overconsumption can lead to digestive problems such as gas, bloating and nausea due to the high amount of fiber. In addition, barley can provoke an allergic reaction in people with gluten intolerance or hypersensitivity to other grains.

Q. How do I use barley for weight loss?

A. You can make barley water for weight loss. If you are looking for As a low-calorie and high-fiber substitute for refined grains, barley flour is a good choice. You can also use barley flakes for breakfast, add to soups and stews, and make a grain salad with vegetables.

Supporting Resources

1. Chang T, Ravi N, Plegue MA, Sonneville KR, Davis MM. Inadequate Hydration, BMI, and Obesity in US Adults: NHANES 2009-2012 [published correction appears in Ann Fam Med. 2020 Nov;18(6):485], Ann Fam Med, 2016;14(4):320-324. doi:10.1370/dim.1951

2. Al-Goblan AS, Al-Alfi MA, Khan MZ. The mechanism linking diabetes mellitus and obesity. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes, 2014;7:587-591. Published December 4, 2014. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S67400

3. Tosh, S. Review of human studies investigating the postprandial hypoglycaemic lowering potential of oat and barley nutritional products. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 310-317 (2013).

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