All far-fetched reasoning and theses boil down to three main conclusions
- for water before, during or after meals;
- against water before, during or after meals;
- water intake does not make any difference for digestion or speedy weight loss.
Why drinking water with meals is good for you
The arguments that water is an elixir for weight loss and healthy digestion boil down to the following:
- Eating food with water occurs at a slower speed and helps to fill faster and curb weight gain by stopping while eating for sips. They make you eat less in general and prevent overeating.
- Drinking water quenches hunger hormones and induces a “feeling of calm and fullness.”
- Water helps the stomach to liquefy food, which promotes better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Water helps enzymes function.
- Water helps prevent constipation and bloating by softening stools and keeping your digestive tract lubricated.
Why drinking water while eating is harmful
The arguments of those who believe that such a practice can do more harm than good is basically the same, but with the opposite sign. Opponents of water claim:
- Excessive fluid intake with meals can lead to bloating, indigestion, and even malabsorption of nutrients.
- Drinking water with food liquefies stomach acid and digestive enzymes, making it difficult to digest food.
- High-risk groups with arterial hypertension and coronary heart disease put additional stress on the heart, which they may not be able to cope with.
- Water can increase the volume of the stomach and this negatively affects gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Food from acid reflux will flow back from the stomach into the esophagus.
- Water before or during meals can cause discomfort, belching, or heartburn, especially if you sip and gasp while swallowing.
That being said, there is no research or evidence to suggest that drinking water with meals can disrupt digestion, cause bloating or acid reflux, or have other negative health effects.
Well, the third group of specialists, which does not classify water as a means of appetite control, argues that drinking water during meals helps digestion mainly at the stages of chewing and swallowing, when it softens food and moves it along the esophagus and at the stage of excretion, helping keep stools soft and pass through the intestines.
Enzymes stick to food particles regardless of the presence of water, and the stomach produces as much gastric juice as needed and any dilution will be temporary.
Can water really do good or harm?
In order for everyone to be able to answer these questions, it is necessary to decide:
- How much water and how many calories you need to consume per day according to the WHO standards. All liquid from the diet should be distributed throughout the day, taking into account work and training.
- Calculate your needs based on 35 ml / kg in winter and 40 ml / kg in summer. These are all liquids, including water, juices, smoothies, tea, coffee, soups, etc. Do not forget to take into account increased sweating during heat, an increase in body temperature, an increase in physical activity … The amount of water in these cases will also increase.
When do you plan to add water to your diet: before, during or after meals and for what.
Drinking water before meals will not speed up or slow down digestion. Water is quickly absorbed by the villi of the epithelium of the digestive tract and enters the bloodstream.
The water will not stay in the stomach and will hardly affect the appetite. Water will flush your digestive tract, cleanse of “debris” and prepare you for eating.
If you plan on adding water to your meal, what kind of food you have on your table will make a difference.
When taking carbohydrates, plant foods – water will liquefy a food lump or hummus, which will not stay in the stomach either. With water, it will be faster in the intestines and the digestion of carbohydrates will occur there.
Protein food or mixed food, with or without water, will already linger in the stomach. The sphincter from the stomach into the duodenum will close as soon as protein food is in the stomach and protein digestion begins.
The intake of proteins with water will delay it a little – the gastric juice will be diluted. But well-regulated processes in the body will quickly equalize the pH of gastric juice and the digestion of proteins will go on as usual.