The General Rule of Thumb (And Whether You Should Follow It)
There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but a general guideline is to wait 30 minutes after eating before drinking water. This gives your body time to absorb the nutrients from your food and for your stomach to start digesting. But if you’re asking “How long should you wait to drink water after eating?” you’re probably already thirsty. Should you wait at all?
There is no science to back up the claim that drinking water during or immediately after a meal affects your health negatively. Some experts even say that it’s beneficial to sip on water (or another non-caloric beverage) during a meal as it can help you eat more slowly, which is good for digestion and may lead to weight loss.
Does Drinking Water Affect Digestion?
The most common explanation for why you shouldn’t drink water immediately after a meal is that it dilutes digestive juices. This claim doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, however. Water is absorbed in the stomach within 20 minutes, and digesting a meal can take several hours. Even if you did drink a lot of water with your meal, it would be gone long before the food reached the intestines where nutrients are absorbed. There are also some benefits to drinking water with meals:
- It helps liquefy food so that it can move more easily down the esophagus and into the stomach.
- Staying hydrated – no matter when you drink – softens your stools and prevents constipation.
- It can make you feel fuller, so you may eat less and take in fewer calories, which is beneficial for people trying to lose weight.
But what about chugging a glass of water immediately after a meal? Is it bad for you?
How Long Should You Wait to Drink Water After Eating?
There is a reason to wait a bit before chugging H2O. Drinking water immediately after a meal can make you bloated if you gulp it down. If that happens to you, you may want to wait 15-30 minutes after eating to drink water.
But if you take it slow and sip it, you’re less likely to feel bloated or have an upset stomach. If you often feel bloated or have digestive issues after eating and drinking water, try drinking with a straw. This will help you control how much water you’re drinking and how fast you’re drinking it.
Some people also say that drinking water immediately after a meal can cause heartburn. But there is no scientific evidence to this claim. In fact, drinking water with a meal may help to prevent acid reflux by making you feel fuller and less likely to overeat, as well as reducing the acidity of your stomach contents temporarily.
The Bottom Line
So, how long should you wait to drink water after eating? If you’re thirsty, go ahead and drink immediately. Sipping on water during and after a meal can actually be good for you. But if you’re prone to chugging, you might want to wait a bit to avoid feeling bloated.
Do you have any other questions similar to “How long should you wait to drink water after eating?” Let us know in the comments below! We’ll do our best to answer them. And be sure to stay hydrated!
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