Why You Should Not Drink Water During Meal?

It is a habit throughout the world to keep a glass of water along with your food while taking meals. It is difficult to find a culture where a glass of water is not provided during meals. Have you ever wondered, drinking water during meals is healthy or not. If you have never thought about this, well, it is time to give a thought and a scientific one. There is scientific reason that drinking water during meal is not good for health. Most people think we should drink water during meals to wash down the food and in most cultures this is the theory for drinking water during meals.ID-100205092

Why drinking water during meals is not healthy?

Because, if you drink water during having food/meal can hamper the digestive power of the stomach and also cause insulin level to fluctuate significantly. Our stomach work for digestion and absorption of food immediately after we start eating. Digestive juices are secreted within minutes after starting meal/food. Hence, if you drink water along with meals, it will dilute digestive juices and hamper digestion. Food breakdown into smaller absorbable molecules will be disturbed and absorption will slow down.

Brain also send signal to pancreas to secrete insulin immediately (within a minute or two) after we start eating, known as first phase insulin secretion (bolus insulin secretion from pancreas) followed by delayed second phase of insulin secretion, which is slow and steady. Absorption of nutrients (mainly carbohydrates in form of glucose) is hampered, but insulin secretion is same, which makes metabolism of small quantity of glucose faster (in presence of relatively larger amount of insulin) and get converted to fatty acids, which may get deposited as fatty tissue. The end result, you end up putting on weight, despite eating relatively less quantity of foods/calories. You may wonder why you gain weight, despite eating less. Well, this may be the reason of you putting on weight despite dieting and eating less. It is time to give a scientific thought and look into your weight problem.

As stomach has already secreted digestive juices, although food is not digested properly due to dilution with water, the remaining food may not get properly digested, because, stomach may not further secrete adequate quantity of digestive juice and you end up with improperly digested foods. Which in turn empty into small intestine and you have indigestion of dyspepsia like problem.

However, drinking small quantity of water during meals do not hamper the digestion and absorption problem significantly and can be taken safely without any problem.

So, when one should drink water?

You should drink water at least 30 minutes before meal (ideally one hour or more before meals) and at least two hours after meal. Most of the water we drink on empty stomach is absorbed within 30 minutes of drinking, hence we should drink at least 30 minutes before meal. If you eat a mixed diet (protein, fat and carbohydrate containing diet such as vegetables, oil and meat/fish), it is generally emptied from stomach to intestine in two to four hours, hence drink two hours after meal.

Tips to reduce drinking water during meals

Make sure your food is not too salty, which will signal your thirst center and make you drink water. Eat slowly and do not eat too fast. Eating fast may make you to gulp down food with water. Eating slowly (chewing and keeping food in mouth for longer duration) will make increased secretion of saliva which is helpful in washing down food. Saliva also start digestion of food in the mouth itself, especially carbohydrates (that is the reason when we chew for long time a sweet taste comes from foods which may not be generally sweet, due to conversion of complex carbohydrates into glucose by saliva in the mouth). So, take your own time to eat and enjoy better health.

Image courtesy of [tiverylucky] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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