Case study: Sonalika Singh is confused. Reason? The 12-year-old does not know whether to listen to her mother or her grandmother — one says that she shouldn't have water with your meals and the other insists that one should have water along with meals. Sonalika is not alone — and neither is this debate new — to drink water with meals or not to. We spoke to clinical nutritionists and dieticians to find out more...
Water during meals may dilute enzymes Deepshikha Agarwal, sports nutritionist says, "The acids and enzymes that are necessary for digestion get diluted if you are drinking water with your meals, so it is best to avoid drinking water when you are eating. Have a glass of water half-an-hour before you sit down for your meals." She recommends that ideally there should be a gap of at least 45 minutes to one hour after one finishes their lunch/dinner. She adds, "Avoid water immediately after meals."
No one rule applies to all Clinical nutritionist Priya Karkera says that there is no one single flat rule that applies to all when it comes to having water with meals. "When treating obesity we recommend that one should have a glass of water before meals because that will make the person feel full and he/she will eat less because the appetite will reduce considerably." Karkera states that water is essential for our body and it is not harmful if one sips a little water during meals.
Is it okay? Dietitian and nutritionist, Khushboo Sahijwani believes that there is no harm in consuming water during meals if one really feels like. "We keep hearing that drinking water during a meal makes one feel full too soon and thus affects appetite and if one has it immediately post a meal then it affects digestion. But neither of the two reasons have a scientific backing to it. Generally, the acidic levels of the stomach are quite high post a meal as the digestive juices are released to begin the digestion process. And there is no such food or even water which if had immediately, that will dilute the stomach acids or affect the process in anyway, as they don't even near those ph levels."