This is one of the questions for which has brought about arguments in our personal lives and social groups and has made many correct others inappropriately. There are many contradictory theories regarding when to drink water. Few theories asks you not to drink after food, few says no harm in drinking water after food, some theories will tell you it’s okay to drink water provided its hot water which in turn aids in digestion. So at the end, what should we do or which should we listen to?
This is what actually happens when we glug water during meals, A medical practitioner which I consulted told me it gets absorbed by the intestinal walls of the stomach. This absorption continues till it becomes concentrated enough for the digestive juices to begin digesting your food. However, due to it getting mixed with water, this concentrated substance is now thicker than the food contents present in your stomach. So less gastric juice will be secreted to digest your food. The result is, undigested food leaks into your system as it gets absorbed through the stomach walls. This will also lead to acid reflux and heartburn.
Drinking water with meals can also cause a surge in your insulin levels, almost like the way high glycemic food would affect you. This is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quick these foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. The more insulin is released into your bloodstream, the higher the chances of you storing fat in your body.
By drinking water right after your meals, you are again tampering the natural time it takes for your food to digest. This also makes you feel hungrier faster than anticipated and results in overeating and bloating. Some doctors recommend a 30 minute gap both before and after your meals. This 30 minutes help your system proceed to the next stage of digestion.
According to Michael F. Picco, M.D , he thinks there’s no concern that water will dilute the digestive juices or interfere with digestion. In fact, he believes drinking water during or after a meal actually aids digestion.
Water is essential for good health. Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Water also softens stool, which helps prevent constipation.
However, to avoid watering down your meals, make sure your food is not too salty as that would aggravate your thirst and trigger your need to drink more water. Besides, eating in a hurry will cause you to gulp your food down. Most likely, you would feel the need to wash it down with water while you are at it. Instead, chew your food more. Our bodies secrete a lot of digestive juices or better still enzymes while chewing, which makes our stomachs job easier.
Sipping a little water during meals isn’t a cause for concern but drinking a glass or two may interfere with digestion. It is best to drink fluids before and two hours after meals as this helps in absorption of nutrients, researchers have found.
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