While some claim it is bad for your digestion, causes toxins among other reasons for not preferring drinking water and beverages during meals, the following evidence based review reveals there actually is no scientific research that support these claims, that they are just myths.
The digestive process, normally of 24-72 hours, starts in the mouth when food is chewed and mixed with enzymes in saliva to help in food break down into chyme.
In the stomach, the chyme is mixed with pancreatic enzymes and bile then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Drinking water daily offers many benefits, however some claim it’s a bad idea.
Their arguments are that:
Claim 1: Alcohol and acidic drinks negatively affect saliva.
They argue that drinking acidic or alcoholic drinks with meals dries up saliva, making it more difficult for your body to digest food.
Alcohol does decrease saliva flow by 10–15% per unit of alcohol. Yet, this mainly refers to hard liquor — not the low alcohol concentrations in beer. This also has nothing to do with water, it’s safe.
On the other hand, acidic drinks seem to increase saliva secretion (Finally, there’s no scientific evidence that either alcohol or acidic drinks, when consumed in moderation, negatively affect the digestion or absorption of nutrients.
Claim 2: Water, stomach acid and digestive enzymes
They claim that drinking water with meals dilutes stomach acid and digestive enzymes, making it more difficult for your body to digest food.
However, this claim implies that your digestive system is unable to adapt its secretions to the consistency of a meal, which is false.
Claim 3: Liquids and speed of digestion
A third popular argument against drinking liquids with meals states that fluids increase the speed at which solid foods exit your stomach.
This is thought to reduce the meal’s contact time with stomach acid and digestive enzymes, resulting in poorer digestion. Yet, no scientific research supports this claim.
A study that analyzed stomach emptying observed that, although liquids do pass through your digestive system more quickly than solids, they have no effect on the digestion speed of solid food.
The truth is that water helps break down large chunks of food, making it easier for them to slide down your esophagus and into your stomach. They also help move food matter along smoothly, preventing bloating and constipation.
Furthermore, your stomach secretes water, along with gastric acid and digestive enzymes, during digestion. In fact, this water is needed to promote the proper function of these enzymes.
In Summary, whether consumed during or before meals, liquids especially purified drinking water play several important roles in the digestion process.
Drinking water with meals can also help you pause between bites, giving you a moment to check in with your hunger and fullness signals. This can prevent overeating and may even help you lose weight.
Additionally, one 12-week study showed that participants who drank 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before each meal lost 4.4 pounds (2 kg) more than those who did not.
Research also indicates that drinking purified water may speed up your metabolism by about 24 calories for every 17 ounces (500 ml) you consume.
Still, the effects of water on metabolism are minor at best and not applicable to everyone.
In Summary Drinking water with meals may help regulate your appetite, prevent overeating, and promote weight loss..
For most people, drinking liquids with meals is unlikely to negatively affect digestion. But if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), liquids with meals may negatively affect you. That’s because liquids add volume to your stomach, which can increase stomach pressure like a large meal would. This can lead to acid reflux for people with GERD
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Drinking water with meals may help regulate your appetite, prevent overeating, and promote weight loss. Whether consumed during or before meals, liquids especially purified drinking water play several important roles in the digestion process. There’s no evidence that you should avoid drinking with meals. The claims that drinking water during meals is bad for your digestion, causes toxins among other reasons for not preferring drinking water and beverages during meals are actually myths.
On the contrary, beverages consumed right before or during meals can promote smooth digestion, lead to optimal hydration, and leave you feeling full.
Just remember that water is the healthiest choice.