Drinking Water During Meals

by Veronica
(Hartford, Connecticut)

Here I will answer the question asked by Veronica, "Why can't you drink water while you eat food?" Though doctors can recommend that there is nothing wrong with drinking water during meals. As per yogic/ ayurvedic philosophy you must drink lot of water throughout the day, but avoid drinking water during meals. The stomach must not be heavily loaded. Half of the stomach should be filled with solid food, one fourth with watery portion and leave one fourth empty.


Also, keep in mind that fruits and vegetables itself contain large amount of water. It is recommended to drink minimal amount of water half an hour prior to eating meals and two hours after meals.

But there cannot be a hard and fast rule for drinking water. You may have to drink water if you are having meals after a hard day of work in hot and dry climate. The amount of water you drink depend on weather conditions and your physical activity levels. Also, the amount of water required will depend on type of food you are eating. If food is sattvik and consisting mostly of fruits and vegetables, water requirement will be minimal. Whereas for spicy Tamsik diet, water requirement will be more and you cannot avoid water with meals.

Also, remember that efficiency of digestion does not depend solely on the amount of water taken with meals. Take into account nutrition levels of your diet, lifestyle, stress levels and eating habits while analysing your digestion.

Water During Meals
1. Avoid drinking water with your meals. Drinking water with your meals dilutes the gastric juice and slows down the process of digestion in the stomach and intestines. Even if you need to drink water just sip water kept at room temperature. Ideally, Ayurvedic texts recommend sipping minimal amount of plain warm water during meals.

2. Cold water during the meals reduces the digestive fire. Digestive enzymes become inactive, digestive process is hampered and leads to accumulation of toxic waste in the body. Hence drinking of iced water, soft drinks, sodas, tea or coffee or alcohol is strictly prohibited.

3. Chew your food properly and it will easily pass down to your stomach. Do not drink water to swallow food in a hurry. If required drink water after swallowing food.

When To Drink Water?
4. Drink water approximately half an hour prior to eating your meals. This will quench your thirst and to some extent give you feeling of fullness. Drinking more water before meals promotes weight loss as plain water contains zero calories. Drink a glass of water when you are hungry. You can take plenty of water two hours after meals as most of the digestion process will be over by now.

Other Considerations
5. Cold water should also be avoided during winter season, as the digestive fire is lower in this season.

6. Do not drink excess water with meals if you are suffering from digestive ailments like acid reflux or hiatus hernia or your digestive process is slow. In such case, drink minimum amount of water with meals.

7. If the stomach tone is less than normal, excessive water stays a long time in stomach interfering with digestion.

8. Poor gastric motility also implies inability to take large amounts of water and can be recognised by feeling of fullness, heaviness, and weight, after small amounts of food. Small amount of fluids takes away the appetite. Even in bad cases, eight ounces of fluid is generally allowable at each meal. Read this article The Truth As To Water Drinking With Meals for more information.

Hope this helps
Daljit
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Comments for Drinking Water During Meals

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It is safe to drink water between meals.
by: Pranav Jha

As the basic idea emerges from the fact that 'drinking water dilutes the medium' and hence increases digestion time.
But one must consider the fact that the amount of gastric juice secreted is somewhere dependent on food's pH value and it secret the amount required to reach 2.0 pH value. So if we drink water in between glands will secret acid considering water too.
So, considering above it can be said that having water in between of meals is safe for a healthy human.

But there might be certain aging effect (mostly after the age of 50 years) where quantity of acid secreted by gland is probably decreased, hence advised to take less water with meals.

So my conclusion is
"Drinking water with meal is safe and does not affect your digestion in any way."

As our creator(God) is smart enough and has planned some logic for this process.
So we should on his creation and have happy drinking of water with meal.

Editors Note
The way I learned yoga, I was told not to drink water with meals. This is a guideline which can be modified if you are extremely thirsty or during hot summer months. My experience is that if we eat satvik food which includes salads and vegetables, need for drinking water along with meals is not felt.

Hope this helps
Daljit

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No water during meals and GERD
by: Amit Sharma

I totally agree with the view that water MUST NOT be taken during the meals but at least an hour after finishing the meals.

I had constant GERD for the past 11 years and no amount of MODERN SCIENCE research could cure it.
Understandably anyone in my shoes would have tried all exercises, spent countless money on medicines/doctor visits/exams.
I found relief when a very eminent true yogi(not the ones you see on TV) advised me to not take water during the meals.
Since then I don't have GERD.
There are subjects where our so called modern science fails to fathom and understand our own body itself unless proved in by trials and results, let alone the other aspects of mother nature and astronomy!!!

Editors Note
Dear Amit
Thanks for sharing your valuable experience..
Warm regards
Daljit

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Do whatever suits you
by: Anonymous

As every one feel things differently, so here is nothing to be argued. As per my and many other's experience it is good to avoid water just after meal.

Editors Note
Thanks for sharing your experience.

Warm regards
Daljit

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True to my test
by: Anonymous

I like this post. As for me, I don`t care about back in the days reference here, nor do I care about that Harvard "study". I have GERD and while I am taking care of myself religiously and I am feeling better, I can swear that drinking water with meals aggravates GERD. Feeling too full and the tendency to even have a heartburn is more likely. oh yes! Based on my trials and others I have talked with. eg same meal with water, acid reflux; same meal next day without water, only drank 2 hours after, no reflux!
It is real.

Editors Note
Thanks for sharing your experience. Good Luck.

Warm regards
Daljit

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Drinking Water While Eating
by: Anonymous

My mother taught me from a child that eating while drinking was not the best for digestion. I got away from that and followed the premise that it is okay to drink and eat. I hadn't been feeling as comfortable after eating as I thought I should so for just the last week, I have started drinking an hour after I eat. I feel so much better after eating than when I've had liquids with my meal. I can drink a lot but try to do so outside of meal time. As others have said, it is up to each individual to do what they think is best for them. It seems human nature is to go with whichever view confirms what I really want to do so I don't have to make a change. In this case, I am motivated to try and make a change for the better. God has blessed me with a healthy body and I want to take care of it.


Editors Note
I am glad you feel better with this practice of not drinking water with meals. Requirement of water with meals is less if you eat satvik, healthy and nutritious food.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

All the best.
Daljit



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Water with meals actually helps digestion....
by: Anonymous

The myth that drinking water is bad for absorption of nutrients and dilutes your bodies ability to digest food is based on very old premedical science philosophy. This has been studied in great detail by Harvard medical, the Mayo clinic and many others. Turns out that the exact opposite is true, DRINKING WATER WITH MEALS AIDS ABSORPTION & DIGESTION. See the thing is that "wayyyy back when" we were ignorant and any reasonably believable theory that came from any persons mouth that held any high station was taken as fact. Lots of very old health myths are gaining traction again and always through anecdotal evidence. Like "My family and I tried this and sure enough we all felt better and were healthier". Please check your facts and be aware of the "Placebo" affect. The internet is full of websites spreading very old and disproved health myths - be careful and check the science behind the belief - if any.
Be Well, Be Smart! not in that order either..

Editors Note

1. What yogis have recommended is based on the collective wisdom shared over thousands of years. However, yoga practice gives you total freedom to practice as per your requirement. Therefore, you can adjust the amount of water you drink along with your meals.

2. The intake of water will depend on the following:
~ If you are hydrated throughout the day you may not feeling like drinking water with meals.
~ However, if you are living in a place with hot, tropical climate, water requirement will be different.
~ Drinking of water more than requirement is also not advisable by doctors. So drink only as much as required during the meals.
~ If your meals include fruits and vegetables, fruits and vegetables contain approximately 90% water. Therefore, as such requirement of additional water may not be felt.
~ You may require more water if eating spicy, fried food.

In the end I will maintain that if possible do not drink water with your meals, but suit yourself as per your requirement. There is no hard and fast rule.

Mayo clinic website says we can drink water with meals, but why to drink water more than what is required?

Here are two articles that may be helpful.

Is drinking of too much water harmful

Digestive process and requirement of water

Hope this helps.

Namaste
Daljit

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Try yourself and feel how you feel
by: Sahan

I have previously heard Yoga advice is contrary to the most people's belief it is ok to drink water with meals.
So I wanted to test this, what I did was went to a buffet 2 separate days;

Day 1 : Eat 3 plates without any liquid but drank water 1hr before meal.

Day 2 : Eat 3 plates same amount of food and 1/2 glass water+ 1Coffee

Within 30minutes of eating 2nd meal I vomitted 1/3 of what I ate in meal 2.

What is written in this article has been followed by many in South Asia over 5000 years.

It is good to be skeptic, my suggestion is try yourself and see how you feel(comparison to similar meal with water), you will notice the difference. Thanks for posting this article.

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Nice
by: Anonymous

Good analysis & info

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water with meals
by: Anonymous

Very good information - it has helped me to understand better why you should not drink water with your meals. Thanks

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There is no evidence based info
by: Anonymous

In my opinion, drinking water during meal or anytime will not impair any kind of biochemistry physiology as the body has majority of water!!!

I refute the point made in the content that drinking water would dilute acid and hereby alter the pH of the acid. Because, the acid present in the stomach is the most strongest one. Drinking water will not modify the pH at all. In fact, the digestion will be made easy in presence of water (as a catalyst).

But, I will be happy to see any evidences that provides data on the systematic understanding on the matter discussed here.

Drink water whenever your body wanted!!! No issues!!!


Editors Note

1. Drinking water will vary from person to person. It also depends on:-

~ Climate
~ Type of food you eat. For example, people tend to drink more water or soft drinks with spicy food or processed food.

2. Yoga experts recommends that a meal should have water upto to one fourth capacity of stomach. If you are eating a high water content food, you get most of the water in your meal from fruits or vegetables.

3. If you feel to drink more water during meals you can do so as every body has different requirements.

Hope this helps..
Daljit

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Very Useful
by: Sanjay Patil

Liked. Very useful information thoroughly analyzed details provided by you. Thanks

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