It is a commonly held belief that drinking water during meals or drinking water after meals can have a diluting impact on the gastric acids present in the stomach and disrupt the process of digestion. It is due to this belief that many people avoid drinking water during meals and immediately after meals. While there is a likelihood of drinking water during meals and after meals that may be more than the recommended amount, there is no as such risk in drinking a genuine amount of water during meals.
Benefits of Drinking Water During and After Meals
The primary reason why people refrain from drinking water during meals or after them is that it interrupts the process of digestion by diluting the gastric acids and enzymes required for digestion, preventing the breakdown of food consumed and causing distention or bloating.
According to gastroenterologist Michael Picco, contrary to popularly held belief, water can actually aid in the process of digestion. Furthermore, he adds that drinking water during meals can actually lead to more efficient breaking down of food in the stomach. He says that drinking water during meals can provide the same benefits as drinking water shortly after consuming a meal.
Here are some of the other benefits of drinking water during meals and those of drinking water after meals:
Many studies conducted and published in various journals have contributed to drinking water during meals as a tool helping in losing weight. Drinking water before meals can lower the caloric intake consumed and increases chances of weight loss especially among overweight individuals, as proven by a study published in the August 2009 edition of the journal ‘Obesity’. Since this study was conducted on checking whether drinking water before meals can result in weight loss, scientists have also generalized the same results to drinking water during meals, as water intake with a meal can make a person feel fuller and result in consumption of lesser food.
The commonly held belief of drinking water during meals diluting gastric acids in the stomach and disrupting the process of digestion is only a myth and there is no scientific evidence verifying these claims. Scientific research states that drinking water during meals or after them has no effect whatsoever on the process of digestion. When a person eats food, the body automatically responds by releasing digestive juices and enzymes that are needed to break down food and send it to the digestive system. The drinking of water during a meal or after it, has no impact whatsoever on the production of these juices and enzymes and hence the digestion process is carried out the same way in both the scenarios.
Many people worry about feeling swollen or bloated after drinking water during a meal. The reason why they feel this way is only because they do not consume a sufficient amount of water throughout the day and so when they drink even a small amount of water during a meal, since the body is not used to it. Generally physicians recommend drinking 6 to 8 glassed full of water daily which along with its many benefits, also benefits the process of digestion through the digestive system.