Is drinking water with meals really bad for you?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding drinking fluids with your meals. Some say it’s perfectly healthy and actually aids digestion, while others are adamant that water dilutes gastric juices and slows down the digestive process. So, what’s the deal?
Below, we look at the pros and cons of drinking water with your meals and whether it’s beneficial to your digestion and general wellbeing.
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, leading people to eat more than is necessary. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can make you feel more satiated and prevent overeating. Some research even shows that drinking H2O boosts your metabolism for up to an hour. This also helps if you’re on a mission to shed a few pounds.
Drinking small amounts of water at room temperature can aid digestion by breaking down food so your body can absorb more nutrients. This goes against the belief that water dilutes stomach acidity, thus preventing it from breaking down foods. However, medical professionals lean towards the fact that the stomach and its acids are stronger than we think and it will take more than just a few sips of water to weaken it.
While there is no existing research, there are claims that intestinal enzymes can become sluggish or inactive and hamper the digestive process. However, it will not stop your stomach acids from breaking down food entirely, it might just slow down the process. This hasn’t been proven 100%, so it’s not something to be overly concerned with unless you experience noticeable discomfort. If it doesn’t affect you, then by all means go ahead and drink water.
If you suffer from acid reflux (heartburn), it’s best not to drink fluids with your meals as this might result in your stomach becoming too full, which pushes your food upwards. To prevent discomfort, rather drink between meals.
It’s clear that the research is still inconclusive and that there is no one right way when it comes to drinking water with meals. It’s better to exercise caution than deal with possibly harmful consequences later on.