No, drinking water with meals, before meals, or after meals is not
harmful in any way.
?Even in bad cases, eight ounces of fluid is generally allowable at each meal.?
?(2) Is it okay to drink water during meals? This is interesting as a
lot of complementary practitioners recommend against drinking water
with meals, believing it dilutes the stomach acid and, hence,
interferes with proper digestion. Technically this is not true, Dr. B
says, as the water probably doesn't significantly mix with digestive
juices. So for the record it's only people who are having problems
making enough stomach (hydrochloric) acid who need to worry about
this. However, too little hydrochloric acid, known as hypochlorhydria,
is said to occur in up to 47 percent of the general population, the
highest incidence being found in older people.?
?There is a common belief that drinking several glasses of water just
before eating, or during a meal, will help to reduce food intake,
because the water helps make the stomach feel full.
There is actually little or no scientific evidence in support of this
belief. In fact, it appears that eating high-moisture foods (rather
than drinking water with or before a meal) does a better job of
reducing the amount of food eaten. For example, one recent study found
that having a bowl of soup before main course led to an overall 16%
reduction in kilojoule intake compared to not starting with soup.
Vegetables and fruits are other high-moisture foods that should help
with weight control when eaten with meals (or as between-meal snacks),
by making the stomach feel full.?
?Tips to increase your water intake:
· Invest in a 32-ounce sports bottle. Fill it with ice water and keep
it handy throughout the day. Drink two of these each day.
· Water down your meals and snacks. Complement food with water, milk
or juice. Occasionally start your meals with soup.
· Refresh yourself at snack time with juice, milk or sparkling water.
· Before, during and after any physical activity, drink water,
especially in hot weather. Consume 4 to 8 ounces of water every 15 to
20 minutes while you exercise. Dont wait until you feel thirsty.
· Add a lemon, lime or orange slice to jazz up your glass of water.
?There are no fixed times for drinking water but... - Before
breakfast, drink a glass of water while still lying down: the fluid is
absorbed more rapidly and stimulates drainage and purification of the
body. - Do not forget that a glass of water before a meal helps
"freshen up" the palate. - During meals, drink a glass of water
between each course in order to prepare your palate for different
tastes. - Between meals, never worry about drinking too much and
consume at least one large glass every two hours. - Before going to
bed, drink a large glass of water to help "wash your body through".
Always take small mouthfuls which quench the thirst more efficiently
than big ones.?
?Stay well hydrated by drinking water with meals and snacks. Most
adults should consume about 2.5 ? 3 litres (10.5 ? 12.5 cups) of fluid
per day, but more is needed in warm environments or during exercise.?
?Myth: Drinking water with meals interferes with digestion.
Truth: Water does not dilute digestive juices, nor does it rush
undigested food through your system. In fact, digestive juices work
best in a semi-fluid environment. What water can do is take up some
stomach space and give you a feeling of fullness before you have eaten
much. If you are a weight watcher, you can use this to your
?[I just read in a vegetarian cookbook that you shouldn't drink water
with meals. It keeps you from digesting the food and absorbing
nutrients properly. The title of the cookbook is The American
Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit for Life Kitchen, by Marilyn Diamon.]
Thanks, now I know what cookbook NOT to buy. Cookbooks are written by,
well, cooks, not by nutritionists or scientists. The purpose of the
authors is, of course, to sell books. They should not be getting into
giving unsubstantiated, nutritional advice.
That said, I can remember discussing this very question during one of
my nutrition classes at Penn State. The teacher, who had a doctorate
in nutrition by the way, found the idea laughable that drinking water
with meals is somehow harmful. The body is more than able to
compensate for some water intake with a meal.
What irks me is how often I hear people changing their eating habits
based on them "having read something, somewhere that something was
somehow bad" -- never mind that the source was questionable, and the
To substantiate what I just said above, I tried searching PubMed
(which indexes abstracts in Medline and other sources) for relevant
abstracts. I couldn't find anything specifically on the question of
the absorption of nutrients. But I did find a couple interesting
One study with rats determined concluded, "The results are similar to
those found in humans and suggest that food intake is modified by
fluid intake, whereas, fluid intake is primarily determined by food
intake" (Physiol Behav 1989 May;45(5):861-70 The interactions of fluid
and food intake in the spontaneous feeding and drinking patterns of
rats. de Castro JM).
So if one is trying to loose weight, then drinking water with meals is a good idea.
Another showed that water ingestion did not alter glycemic and insulin
responses in diabetics (Water volume and consumption time: influence
on the glycemic and insulinemic responses in non-insulin-dependent
diabetic subjects. Gregersen S, Rasmussen O, Winther E, Hermansen K.
Am J Clin Nutr 1990 Sep;52(3):515-8).?
"There is no proof to support the theory that you shouldn't drink
water with meals: your digestive juices can cope perfectly well with
it. It usually only causes problems if you suffer from digestive
ailments like acid reflux or hiatus hernia, which can be aggravated by
drinking lots of water with meals, or if you have such a poor appetite
that you find it hard to eat enough. In such situations, it's best to
take small sips of water when eating and to make up your fluid
requirement between meals.
Otherwise, it can both refresh your palate and stimulate your
hypothalamus (the part of the brain that registers whether you've
eaten enough), making you far more likely to feel satisfied after
you've eaten. Water also causes the fibre within food to swell,
activating stretch receptors in the stomach lining to signal when
you've eaten enough. There's no nutritional difference between still
and sparkling water, and you can always request a jug of iced tap
water if you resent the ridiculously high prices that most restaurants
charge for a bottle of branded water."
There you go! Drink all the water you like!
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