Ask the experts: Drinking with meals

Q: "I have heard we shouldn't drink anything with meals or should wait at least 20 minutes before doing so. Is there any truth in this?"


A: Nutritionist Catherine Saxelby responds:

"This is an old myth that's been around since the 1960s, probably designed to stop young children from not chewing their food properly and then 'washing it down' with a liquid. Lumps of half-chewed meat or bread would indeed interfere with good digestion and could even cause pain or bloating.

However, at modest levels of fluid intake (say one 250ml glass of water with a dinner), indigestion is unlikely. So the choice whether you drink or not at meals is an entirely personal question.

A word of caution if you're looking after children: they have small stomachs and a large drink at mealtime can fill them up and take the place of their food. This can limit the amount children eat and leave them open to nutritional deficiencies."

First published: Nov 2008

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