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Niche Topics ( Health and Fitness) is dedicated to help you lead a happy and healthy life. We provide the latest updates on nutrition, dieting, exercise, fitness, home remedies and natural cures for common illnesses, and other health-related topics. Get in shape with us and keep your body running at it’s peak!

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Is It Good or Bad to Drink Water with Meals for Weight Loss?


Hi Irene,

Your weight loss question seems simple but the answer is not straightforward.

Water aids weight loss because it fills up your stomach so you are not as hungry and therefore consume less calories (think smaller portions) at meal time. Research has shown that people who drank 2 glasses of water 3 times a day, 20-30 minutes prior to every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) not only lost weight more quickly initially, but also lost significantly more weight than dieters who didn't.

However, that doesn't mean you should go to an extreme and drink gallons and gallons of water. Drinking too much water is harmful to health as it can lead to hyponatremia (also called water intoxication), a serious condition in which your blood sodium levels are abnormally low. If left untreated, hyponatremia can cause confusion, irritability and seizures and may even be fatal.


Drinking Water with Meals Is Good or Bad?

Generally speaking, drinking water while eating is not encouraged in Ayurveda. If you drink a lot of water or take too much icy cold fluids, you dampen the digestive fire (or agni) and slow down digestion. When food is not properly digested and absorbed, toxins (or ama) will be produced in your system.


For that reason, Charak, the father of Ayurveda suggests sipping a little lukewarm water after every four or five bites. For example, if you are having a meal that consists mainly of dry foods such as toast or soda crackers, taking a small sip of water when needed will help moisten food so that it moves more smoothly down your digestive tract.


While drinking water has been scientifically proven to help you lose weight, some people advise against drinking water with food as it contributes to indigestion. Water dilutes digestive juices and enzymes, making them less effective and reduce nutrient absorption. When food is not digested completely, it tends to rot and ferment in the intestines and colon, which in turn produces gas. This gas buildup causes swelling or bloating in your stomach, making you look and feel fat.


That being said, some health experts argue that drinking water during meals does not dilute digestive enzymes and disturb digestion. According to Mayo clinic, drinking water during or after a meal can actually improve digestion. Water and other liquids help break down the food in your stomach and keep your digestive system on track.



How to Drink Water for Weight Loss

I find that drinking room temperature water an hour before and after meals works for me so my personal preference is to drink water in small sips before I eat, but not while I am eating.


However, I suggest you test it yourself since not everyone is the same. Try drinking 1-2 cups of water 30-60 minutes before meals and drink your remaining quota in between meals. For instance, drink 1 cup of water first thing in the morning to help flush out the toxins and impurities that have accumulated in your body overnight. Drink 1-2 cups of water before breakfast, another cup before lunch and do the same before dinner. And, drink a cup of water before you sleep to help prevent kidney stones and dehydration.


Interestingly, some studies suggests that drinking water that is lower than body temperature (about 70°F) will burn extra calories and thus help with weight loss. The reason is, your body requires considerable amounts of energy to warm the cold water you drink to body temperature. Your body can burn approximately 100 calories a day using energy to heat a gallon of cool water that you drink. That means you can lose about a pound of fat in a month without doing anything! Again, avoid icy cold water because it can interfere with the digestive process.


If you dislike the taste of plain water, there are many ways to make water taste better. You can add lime or lemon slices to your glass of water for a dash of flavor, or 2-3 mint leaves or lemongrass for aroma. If you like an extra zing, I suggest a few thin slices of fresh ginger root. I like mine with a bit of apple cider vinegar. All of these additions are great for those with indigestion issues.


Aside from drinking water to enhance weight loss, don't forget foods with high water content such as broth-based soups (miso soup and minestrone soup), vegetables (celery and cucumber) and fruits (apple, watermelon and grapefruit) are also very good for weight loss. These water-rich foods are lower in calories and will help you reduce your calorie intake without reducing portions.


Most importantly, watch what you eat and exercise regularly. Weight loss will only happen if calorie output is greater than your calorie intake.




By Diane Hanson


I want to know if it is good or bad to drink water with meals to lose weight fast. I am 138 pounds and have a height of 5 feet 5 inches. I have my sights set on losing 12-16 pounds, 2 pounds per week, which I think is both healthy and realistic. Someone I know said drinking lots of water while eating helps weight loss because water fills the stomach quickly and as a result you eat less. However, I was told by another friend who is really into Ayurveda that drinking water with a meal is a bad idea as water interferes with digestion. Now I'm really confused. Is it ok to drink water with food if I want to lose weight quickly? Any insight you can provide would be very helpful! Thank you. – Irene, Nebraska.

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