If you go to a restaurant in a western country, you will probably receive a large glass of ice water and lemon wedges, but in Japan, you will only receive a very small glass of water.
The Japanese believe that water can interfere with the “digestive fire”, making it difficult for the body to digest a meal.
And while staying properly hydrated is crucial to your overall health, drinking glasses of water with meals can do you more harm than good.
We are also used to drinking water during meals. And we did our research to find out why the Japanese, who are part of one of the healthiest nations in the world, choose not to do this. You will also find some useful tips at the end of the article.
It May Give You A Dry Mouth
Contradictory as it may seem, drinking a glass of water with food can dry out saliva. Some people like to add a slice of lemon to the water, which makes it an acidic drink that affects saliva secretion.
Because saliva acts as a healthy drink for the oral environment, a dry mouth can cause some unpleasant symptoms, including bad breath.
Lemon water can also worsen certain health conditions, such as acid reflux, and can damage tooth enamel.
It May Harm Your Digestion
When you drink water with your food, your saliva is diluted. This, in turn, affects the release of gastric juice responsible for the digestion of food. As a result, your stomach receives weaker signals to break down food, which can cause bloating.
It Slows Down Nutrient Absorption
As drinking water during meals dilutes digestive juices, it affects the natural acidity level of the stomach. This negatively affects the digestive system and causes the body to absorb fewer vitamins and nutrients.
It May Give You Heartburn
Drinking water during meals increases the volume of the stomach and puts pressure on it, just as a large meal would. This, in turn, can worsen certain health conditions and increase the risk of acid reflux.
Since drinking water with meals causes your body to secrete fewer digestive enzymes, it can cause a chain reaction of side effects, including heartburn.
It May Cause Weight Gain
Drinking water while you eat can also help you gain extra pounds. When your body can’t digest food well enough, it turns it into fat, causing you to gain more weight.
Drinking water during meals can also cause your body to release more insulin into your blood, which increases your chances of storing fat in your body.
Bonus: How To Avoid Drinking Water With Meals:
While it can be hard to resist the urge to drink water between bites, here are some tips that can help you get through it.
Eat less salty foods. Since salt tends to make you thirsty, it’s best to choose foods that are lower in sodium.
Take some time to chew your food. Well-chewed food is easier for the stomach to digest, and chewing causes your body to produce more saliva, reducing your desire for water.
Drink water 30 minutes before a meal. Drinking water half an hour before a meal is one of the most effective ways to stay hydrated. It can also make you feel more satisfied, causing you to end up eating fewer calories.
Don’t eat in a hurry. If you are having a quick snack on the way to work, you may be thirsty as you will feel the urge to swallow your food with water.
Do you drink water while you eat? Can you eat a full meal without drinking a glass of water?