Fact or fiction: Don’t drink with meals

You might hear that you shouldn't drink with meals as it dilutes the nutrients, or that drinking with meals dilutes digestive enzymes. But actually, some fluid with a meal helps digestion. Gastroenterologist Professor Cliff Tasman-Jones explains:

"The stomach is well designed and can easily sense the difference between fluids and foods. Basically the fluids are processed first, and pass through to the small intestine quite rapidly for absorption there. Food in the stomach is broken down to small particle size and steadily released into the upper small intestine, where it stimulates the production of digestive enzymes to process the food for absorption.

"Fluid with the meal actually aids mechanical breakdown of large particles and does not 'dilute' the effectiveness of these digestive enzymes."

If you want to drink something with your meal, it will do you more good than harm.

First published: Apr 2007

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