Some say drinking beverages with your meal aids digestion while others say doing so can lead to a variety of health issues. Can drinking a can of soda or a glass of water along your meals really affect your health and digestion? We reveal the answer. Here is how having different liquids with your meals can affect your health and digestion.
Do liquids cause digestive issues?
Drinking enough liquids throughout the day is definitely good for your health. However, some claim that the timing matters and drinking liquids around meals and along with meals is a bad idea.
Here are three different types of drinks/beverages and their effect on our health and digestion:
Alcohol and acidic drinks can negatively affect saliva
Drinking alcohol and other acidic drinks with meals reduces the saliva production in the mouth, making it difficult for the body to digest it. Alcohol decreases saliva flow by 10 – 15 per cent per unit of alcohol. Though this only applies to hard liquor and not low alcohol concentration drinks like wine and beer.
When consumed in moderation, neither alcoholic nor acidic drinks can lead to indigestion or poor absorption of nutrients.
It is believed that drinking water with meals dilutes the stomach acid and digestive enzymes, which makes it difficult for the body to digest food. Though there is no scientific backing to support this claim.
There are many arguments claiming that fluids increase the speed at which various foods exit the stomach. This is said to reduce the meal’s contact time with stomach acid and digestive enzymes, which results in poor digestion.
Though this claim does not have a scientific backup.
In some cases, liquids can improve digestion
When you have liquids with your meals, it makes it easier for the food to slide down your esophagus and enter the stomach. It also prevents bloating and constipation. In fact, water is needed to promote proper digestion as our stomach also secretes water along with other gastric juices and digestive enzymes to digest food.
Water may help reduce appetite and calorie intake
When you take a pause to drink water in between your meals, it gives you a chance to check your hunger and fullness levels. This can help prevent overeating and thus promote weight loss.
A 12-week study shows that people who drank 500 ml of water before each meal lost 2 kilos more weight than those who did not.
Researches also show that drinking water revs up your metabolism by 24 calories per 500 ml of water you consume. Do not forget all this applies only to water and not to other drinks that contain calorie. In fact, when people have sugary beverages along with meals it increases their calorie intake by 8 – 15 per cent.
People who should not drink water with meals
Drinking water with meals does not affect the digestion negatively in most people. But if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), liquids with meals are not good for you.
This is because liquids add volume to the stomach, which can increase the pressure in your stomach just like a large meal. This can lead to acid reflux in people suffering from GERD.