Can We Drink Water While We Eat?
On health food TV shows, they often say that it's prohibited to eat and drink at the same time. Some experts explain that water dilutes our stomach acid. Others think that doing so makes us fat. And some people even think that water pushes undigested food out of the stomach! Can ordinary water be that harmful to us?
Bright Side decided to finally find out the truth about drinking water while eating and what is simply a myth.
What happens to food and water in the stomach?
The digestion process starts exactly when we are thinking about our future meal: saliva is produced in the mouth. When we chew food, we mix it with saliva that contains the necessary enzymes for digestion. Then, the softened food gets into our stomachs where it gets mixed with the stomach acid. On average, the stomach needs 4 hours to digest food before turning it into liquid, or chyme. Chyme goes further into the intestine where it gives all the nutrients to the body.
Water doesn't stay in the stomach for a long time. It takes about 10 minutes to for the stomach to move 10 oz of water. So, if you drink while eating, water doesn't form lakes in your stomach. It goes through the chewed food very quickly, moisturizes it and leaves the stomach quickly.
Liquids don't decrease acidity.
Our body is a complicated but very well-tuned system. If the stomach "feels" that it can't digest something, it produces more enzymes and increases the acidity of the liquid inside. Even if you drink a half a gallon of water, it won't influence the acidity level. By the way, water gets into the stomach with food, too. For example, on average, an orange consists of 86% water.
By the way, studies have shown that some food can decrease acidity levels in our stomachs, but it goes back to normal very quickly.
Liquids don't influence the speed of digestion.
There are no studies that prove the misconception that liquid pushes solid food into the intestine before it's fully digested. Scientists claim that liquid leaves the body faster than solid food but it doesn't influence the speed of digestion.
So, can we drink while eating?
If you drink while eating, you won't do any harm. On the contrary, water helps to soften solid food. But don't drink before you swallow the food — there should be enough saliva in the food that contains the necessary enzymes.
There are certain advantages to drinking while eating. Research shows that when a person makes short pauses to drink some water, it slows down the eating process. As a result, people eat less which is good.
If you are used to drinking tea with food instead of water, there is nothing wrong with that either. Research shows that there is no difference in acidity levels after drinking tea or water.
The temperature of the water you drink doesn't influence the speed of digestion or the number of nutrients you receive. The stomach can heat up or cool down the food to the necessary level. However, scientists recommend drinking warm water that is cooled down to 150 °F.
Do you ever worry about drinking water while eating? What do you think about this topic? Tell us in the comment section below!