When it comes to drinking water, everyone has an opinion on whether or not drinking water right after a meal is good or not. Some say it helps with digestion, while others are concerned doing so will negatively impact your digestion and make you fat.
Read more: Could water be the reason we gain weight?
There are various opinions and various studies that drinking water just after having a meal is not good for you. While it isn’t harmful, it does have an impact on your digestion process.
What happens when you drink water right after eating is a dilution of the essential enzymes required for you to properly digest food.
There’s no hard and fast rule that prevents you from drinking during a meal, but the recommendation is to sip, instead of gulp or guzzle, so that you only take in a small quantity. It’s also not advised you drink more than 500ml of water during meal times.
Why shouldn’t you drink water after a meal?
It causes acidity by diluting your gastric juices. Your stomach absorbs water, but when you drink in excess after a meal you’re diluting the enzymes necessary for digestion. This can lead to less digestive enzymes for your body to excrete and the result is undigested food leaking into your system causing heartburn and acid reflux.
Let’s get back to those gastric juices… These acids help your body breakdown and digest food, but they also kill and remove infectious agents that might have interfered with your food. In a nutshell, you kind of need those juices for your overall wellbeing.
When you drink water right after a meal though, you reduce their effectiveness and it therefore makes your digestive system weak. This could lead to cramps for some.
Because you are stagnating the entire digestive process, food will remain in your stomach for a lot longer than it should and this also slows down the process of digested food being passed into the small intestine so nutrients can be absorbed.
Read more: Why eight glasses of water?
Drinking water just after a meal leaves behind undigested food and the glucose-filled portion of this then turns into fat, storing it. Now because this process causes a surge of insulin in your body it also increases the blood sugar level in you body
Now with all that glucose from the undigested food converting into fat and being stored in your body, it’s true that drinking water immediately after a meal can contribute to obesity.
When is the right time to drink water then?
In order to maximise the effectiveness of the water you are drinking on your body, there are certain times throughout the day that are more beneficial than others.
1. After waking up. One glass after you’ve woken in the morning will activate your internal organs and assist in removing toxins from your body before your first meal.
2. Before a meal. If you drink one glass of water at least 30 minutes before eating it should aid in your digestion. Drinking too close to your meal will have the same effect as drinking water immediately after a meal.
3. Before a bath. Doing this is said to lower your blood pressure.
4. Before sleep. At least an hour before bedtime is best as drinking water will replenish any fluids you could lose throughout the night while you are sleeping.