You probably have heard people telling you not to drink too much water while you are having your meal. They believe that the water will disrupt the digestion process by diluting the hydrochloric acid and digestive enzyme. Hydrochloric acid is there in our stomach to help in digestion by breaking down food. Is it true that drinking too much water will affect your digestion?
Here are my thoughts:
- I seldom pay attention to how much water I drink during my meals. Sometimes, I have several sips; at other times, I may dry up entire glass of water within seconds, especially after eating spicy Thai food . None of these drinking patterns make me feel uncomfortable after the meals. It is more up to individual’s preference. But, I seldom see one purposely avoid drinking water just to get better digestion. It depends on what you eat and you will drink naturally. You do not have to keep reminding yourself to drink or not to drink.
- Digestion process itself is just not as simple as only related to water intake. If you are overeating or having much stress while eating, you will more likely to have digestion problem. Only people who are having problems producing enough stomach acids need to worry about this water intake problem. Even that, if you really want to dilute hydrochloric acid, you really have to drink gallons of water to get the acid and enzymes to the stage of making them ineffective. It is not like with a single glass of water, the acid will be diluted. Your digestive juices cope very well with water intake during meals.
- Almost all foods contain water - fish, cheese, vegetables,
fishand even bread has water. So, when people telling you about “no water” rule during meal, tell them all foods have water.
Since we are on this topic, another related often asked question is that whether drinking water during meals will help in weight control. To certain extent, it may help, depending on how much you really drink. If you drink before, during and after meal, you definitely will feel full. But, once you go to toilet, you will get hungry. A better way is to eat foods with high water content. For example, vegetables and fruits will make you feel full for a longer time compared to few glasses of water.
In short, drinking reasonable amount of water while eating does not disrupt digestion. In fact, water or other liquid actually help break down the food and improve digestion.
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