Don't Drink While You Are Eating?

Updated on June 18, 2011
L.A. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
20 answers

A co-worker just told me that it is bad practice to drink water, or other beverages while eating. Apparently it dilutes the digestive juices and makes your body work much harder to get the nutrients it needs. Drink a half hour before or a half hour afterwards.

Have any of you heard of this?

Is there merit to this?


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answers from Seattle on

From people who don't understand human anatomy and physiology, yes, I've heard it. From anyone who has taken basic chemistry much less organic chemistry? Nope. You can't dilute an acid with a water. You have to dilute it with another acid, or neutralize it with a base.

BTW... FIBER makes it MUCH harder for the body to digest food. Should we all avoid fiber?

ROFL... yah. Thought not.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I have heard of this, but it's an old wives tale. I had a nutritionist and doctor tell me it was bull!

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answers from Dallas on

yes, I've heard this and also it's bad to drink "cold" drinks, you should drink lukewarm water never ice water, especially after you ate something greasy. Which did make sense to me, you know when you have cooked something greasy and you put water, especially cold water in the pan how it clumps up, that is what it does to your insides...

I also heard drinking while eating makes room for more food to be eaten.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

Yes, there is merit to what your co-worker said.

I'd also like to add that, as a rule, when we drink while eating it's to "wash down" our food. We shouldn't be having to wash anything down (medical conditions excluded, of course!). We should be chewing our food enough that it breaks down in our mouth. By the time you go to swallow each bite, there really ought to be not much left to swallow.

I taught all my children to chew their food 30 times before they swallow. Doing so eliminates the need for a beverage at mealtimes. They don't all count how many chews now, because once you're "good" at chewing, you can tell by the feel of the food in your mouth when it's time to swallow.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jackson on

I don't know about the half hour. But I have heard don't drink while eating.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

I haven't heard of the practice before, but I've always done this, it's just my nature. I usually have a few sips before I eat, then nothing until after I eat. Therefore, I always order water, especially in restaurants, because I know I'm not going to drink it. Some people have told me I'm weird, so I hope there IS some merit to this!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

Yes, this is true. Your digestive juices and saliva should be the main thing responsible for breaking down your food. When you wash it down with juice water as in large doses, it does do that, causes bloating and weight gain. It's best you take one or two sips of water to wet your palate but not drink.

Try it for a week and you will see the difference in bloating, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

My husband had (VERY SUCCESSFUL) gastric by-pass surgery seven months ago. They STRESS for him NOT to drink while eating. I just assumed it was because his stomach was smaller now.

Hmmm, maybe THAT'S been the root of those evil 25 pounds I need to shed. Something to think about...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Oh, yikes! I hope that isn't true! I don't think I could eat without something to sip on. It makes sense, and would make an interesting science fair project for a kid to try. I would be curious to see if people who refrain from drinking while they eat feel any better than those who don't. Still, I don't think I could do it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I have heard that, but I think I would choke to death! How in the flip-flop do you eat a pb&j and not drink anything for half an hour????? I think my throat would close up all full of pb.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My BIL preaches this ... he says the same thing, he grew up in the orient and aparently this is a typical practice. I can not stick to it fully but I do try. Honestly I do not feel a difference but who knows for sure?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

Never heard it before, I would choke if I didnt have a glass of water sitting there while eating whether I needed a drink or not. Just the thought of not having some liquid to wash things down a little bit gets me nervous. I would think it would be the opposite. Your intestine are very, very long and very, very mucousy inside.... I think the liquid would be more helpful rather than harmful. Besides, it fills you up faster if you have liquids while eating and tend to eat less.... so they say.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Ha Ha, this cracks me up. Is she by chance Seventh Day Adventist? I am and this is an adventist "health message" thing. I grew up with drinks not being an automatic part of our meal, though if we were thirsty, it was not a hard and fast rule. To this day I don't set the table with glasses, not on principle, just the way I'm used to doing it. I think it drives my MIL crazy. The reason given is that it hinders digestion. I don't know if it acctualy does or not, but anticdotally, if I'm thirsty and go ahead and drink with my meal, I do feel a little bogged down and overfly full.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I almost never drink and eat at the same time. I'm still fat though. I don't know if there is anything to it. I thought that it helps push the food on through and aids in reducing constipation. I just don't like drinking much and have to force myself to drink anything.


answers from Houston on

A lot of cultures do this, but many nutritionists suggest to drink water prior to your meal at least to help curb overeating. As far as the digestive juices diluting thus reduce nutrient intake, I have no idea. Perhaps with some alcohol or caffeine or drinking large amounts which can cause bloating, but for small sips, I don't think so.

As for me, I HAVE to drink a sip of something (usually ice water) after about every 2 or 3 bites, otherwise I simply cannot finish my meal.



answers from Baton Rouge on

I have to have a beverage with my meals, especially since I love spicy food.



answers from Fort Wayne on

My husbands grandparents (our kids great-grandparents) say this! If we are at their house, our kids aren't allowed to drink until after their meal. Weird.



answers from Redding on

I have never heard of such a thing.
I will say, however, that I've heard that drinking warm liquids such as tea with meals is better for you than drinking cold liquids. It's supposed to aid in the digestion of fats, etc.
I can't provide clinical trials or anything like that, but I have heard about it.
Maybe your co-worker has eating and swimming mixed up.


Best wishes.



answers from Cleveland on

thanks for asking this, i heard it for the first time on mamapedia a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ALOT. still not sure. I have some water with meals but not a ton. hmmm.



answers from Phoenix on

Sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me. Regardless, I'll drink my beverage with my meal, thanks!

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