Drinking while you’re eating is not a good idea, and essentially it’s something most of us will benefit from refraining from.
In order for me to tell you why you shouldn’t be drinking water while enjoying your meal, I need to give you the reason why. Here is the simple answer – It plays havoc with your digestion!
The first phase of the digestion process starts in the mouth. The food we eat should get ready for digestion up to 25% in the mouth itself and then enter the stomach. The teeth accomplish this task. The trouble is everyone nowadays is in such a hurry to eat their meals and move onto the next part of their day that they don’t think about the consequences such eating can have on the body.
When we chew food properly, the required saliva is produced and it moves into the stomach easily without any obstruction. The saliva substitutes the function of water as the saliva contains 98% of water and 2 % of digestive enzymes. Saliva helps proper digestion of food. Saliva also kills certain kinds of bacteria found in the food we eat. When we drink water while eating, less saliva is produced. Due to reduced saliva and increased water intake the digestive process is hampered. If we chew food properly, the saliva mixes well with the food which in turn enables the food to move freely into the stomach. Saliva not only makes the digestion process easy but also complete.
After swallowing, the chewed food reaches the stomach. Several digestive enzymes and gastric juices are produced for digesting the food we eat. One among such acids is the most powerful hydrochloric acid which plays a key role in the digestion of our food. Along with it there are several other enzymes which help in the completion of the digestive process. Hydrochloric Acid kills certain bacteria left over in the food. The food is usually digested in two hours when these acids are in concentrated form. Its strength is reduced when water mixes with it.
So if liquid is going in as well as food, not only does the water dilute digestive juices, but water is absorbed through the walls of the stomach until the contents are concentrated enough for the gastric juicesto act. When this happens, the concentrated substance ends up being thicker than the food your stomach was expecting to accommodate for and you won’t have enough gastric juice to break it down. This leads to undigested food being absorbed through the stomach wall and sneaking into your system.
It can be difficult to break the habit of not drinking during your meals but you can slowly wean yourself off it by just allowing small sips of room temperature water. You should aim to hydrate roughly 20 minutes before you eat, and then try not to drink too much water until about 30 minutes after you’ve finished your meal.