Nutrition Expert Explains Why You Should Not Drink Water During Meals

March 15, 2017

The benefits of water are well known, but experts say drinking water first thing in the morning and not during meals is the most beneficial to your digestive health.

stop drinking water with meal
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After going several hours without a sip, a serving of water first thing can hydrate the body while aiding digestion and metabolism.

"Our bodies are pretty dry when we wake up in the morning," says Angela Lemond, the national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Drinking a couple glasses of water to allow the body to rehydrate allows for better digestion when you do eat. It also helps with moving the lower bowels for regularity in the mornings.

"If you are not properly hydrated, body processes do not work as efficiently."

Make your metabolism more effective

Drinking water doesn't cause a significant calorie burn, said Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But "it does ensure that your metabolism is functioning optimally."

It can stave off the munchies, too: Your body can mistake thirst for hunger when you're dehydrated, Rumsey said, leading to overeating.

She also advises starting the day in a hydrated state.

Don't drink and dine!

According to Lemond, it's ideal to not drink anything during meals — water included.

"For digestive health, we do say that drinking nothing during a meal is best.

"This is more to avoid digestive issues such as gas and bloating more than anything," Lemond said. Nothing she's seen suggests pairing water with food could inhibit nutrient absorption, she added.

Drinking enough water before and after meals can help ensure optimal digestion, Lemond said, granting the body enough fluid to produce the necessary gastric juices to properly break down food.

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