Why you should not be drinking water, while you are eating a meal?

I see most Indians having water while they eat a meal. The whole theory of washing down the food is used whilst eating. As a Macrobiotic counsellor, I cannot being to tell you how wrong this is and can be for your digestion. Especially for those suffering with digestive issues, the ramifications get multiplied. The stomach has a knack of knowing when you are going to eat, and starts releasing digestive juices immediately. If you start drinking water at the same time, what you are actually doing is diluting the digestive juices being released to digest your food. A couple of things happen when you drink water:

(1) Drinking water with a meal can dilute digestive enzymes which are released for digestion, first in the mouth and then in the stomach. This in turn would slow the digestive process down.

(2) What actually happens is that the water gets absorbed by the intestinal walls of the stomach, till it becomes concentrated enough for the digestive juices to act on the digesting of your food. However, this concentrated substance is now thicker (with the water) than the contents of the food in your stomach, and there will be less gastric juice secreted to digest your food. The result is undigested food leaks into your system, as it gets absorbed through the walls of your stomach. This will also give rise to acid reflux and heart burn.

(3) Drinking water with meals can also cause a surge in your insulin levels, almost like the way high glycemic food would affect you. The more insulin is released in your blood stream the higher the chances of you storing fat in your body, as liver reserves are less if you drink water during a meal.

Combat the reasons as to why you need to drink water while you eat!

(1) Make sure your food is not always too salty, this increases your thirst and a need to drink water at the same time.

(2) Eating in a rush will cause you to gulp your food down, and the need to wash it down with water while you eat

(3) Our mouth is dry as we are not hydrating ourselves at the right times during the day, so we feel the need to drink water during eating a meal

Correct way to eat a meal!

(1) Chew, chew and then chew some more. Remember you secrete a lot of the digestive juices (enzymes) while chewing, this makes the job of your stomach easier

(2) Do not drink fluids while eating your food

(3) Avoid heavy activity after a meal, except for a light walk

(4) Attitude of gratitude towards your meal, be grateful for what you eat. Studies show that people with an attitude of gratitude towards their meals, digest and assimilate food better.

(5) Drink 20-30 minutes before or after a meal. Before will ensure the body stays hydrated, so optimal digestion takes place.

(6) This keeps the liver healthy as well, as if we stay hydrated the liver is able to extract nutrients better from the food we eat, and re-distribute it throughout the body.

(7) A small glass of water will not hurt you so much, but you can actually aid digestion by adding some (just ½ teaspoon) lime juice or apple cider vinegar to it

Here is a recipe with sweet potatoes which has 77% water, and is low on the glycemic index!

Satisfying Sweet Potato Pancakes – Serves 4


3 cups grated sweet potato

3 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup grated onion

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of flour (I use sorghum) to bind


1.Mix all the ingredients well

2.Line your pan with oil (I use a spray olive)

3.Take some potato mix in your hand and flatten it in your palm like a pancake – it does not have to be to tightly packed

4.Put in on your pan, at pat the pancake down

5.Shallow fry on one side – once lightly brown and then flip over on other side

6.Serve warm with chutney

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