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Hydration: How much water should you be drinking? Really?

It’s a given that we all should be drinking more water to maintain health, but sometimes we need to question the timing of when we drink water.

The most common question we get is whether it’s good to drink water before or during a meal. Or, if you drink water during a meal, does it alter your stomach’s digestive acids, causing your food to digest inadquately?

There’s a number of different thoughts on this, and they range from positive to negative, but the majority response from experts is yes, you can and should drink water before and during meals. There’s no solid evidence that drinking water during a meal dilutes our stomach acids enough to affect digestion.

Here’s a few reasons why.

Water fills you up, allowing smaller meals.
Drinking water before you eat makes you feel full faster than if you had an empty stomach. It’s obvious. It takes up room in your stomach. The big payoff here is that you will  eat less at a meal instead of stuffing yourself. It’s an under rated and simple trick smart dieters use to regulate intake.

Drinking water before a meal will start your digestive acids flowing.
Your body can’t tell the difference between a glass of water and solid food, so as soon as something enters your stomach, your body will begin the digestion process. A glass of water just before a meal will mean that once you actually start eating, your body is in full digestion mode, and your food will digest faster.  Water in your stomach will also help break down food faster, aiding your digestion. Thiank about it: what happens to a piece of bread when you dip it in water. Nice and solid to a mushy-soft and it disintegrate fast.
That’s what the extra water in your stomach helps do.

Drinking cold water vs warm/hot will give faster absorption.
A study from the Korean Nutritional Society shows that, among other factors such as electrolyte concentration and flavoring, cooler fluids absorb better into the body. The study states that ” preferred beverage temperature is often between 15 and 21℃”, which is a few degrees lower than standing room temperature (in most cases). This all being said, having even colder water shouldn’t have negative effects on your digestion and absorption.
Ian: Note electrolyte concentration. That’s minerals in  your water, like magnesium, calcium potassium and sodium!

A quick word on dehydration, meals and timing.
When you drink water with a meal, it will be absorbed more slowly than if you drank the water by itself. Your stomach wants to digest the food before releasing it into your intestines where much of the absorption takes place.

Digesting water alone takes far less time. So if you’re dehydrated after a jog or sports, and you can’t get water before a meal, your body will keep dehydrating until the meal is digested.
My overall suggestion therefore is to drink water at least 45 minutes before a meal to re-hydrate yourself if possible. This 45 minutes gives your body time to digest just the water and get it into your system faster.

Naturally I can’t NOT remind you that like the old advertsing slogan “Oils aint oils”, Water ain’t water when it is in the form of enhanced, electrolyte rich, alkaline and hydrogen infused. When it is all of that, and you drink ENOUGH water, then you are taking out the cheapest health insurance you could ever have.

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