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Digestion….it goes like this: Mouth, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum.

Holly Haze shares a memory. “Odd fact: My dad would never let us drink during a meal. As a kid, I thought it was downright cruel, but as an adult who has studied health for almost 17 years, I totally get it now. There is a debate as to how much drinking during a meal interferes with proper digestion, but I think it depends on the person, their goals, and their health.”

Not only do beverages other than water add calories and sometimes sugar, some studies show that digestion works better without added liquids. There is a reason why sugary drinks come with free refills…..the sugar is addicting and doesn’t quench thirst. It just makes us more hungry…and usually craving more sugar!

Holly agrees, but says “For the most part, small sips are ok. Twenty minutes before a meal or twenty minutes after a meal, those are the key time markers for consuming beverages, but sipping during a meal isn’t bad for you. The theory behind why it is bad for digestion is because the digestion starts in the mouth with saliva. The enzymes in the saliva have a distinct function in the digestion process. The stomach and intestine have acid and enzymes that specifically aid in digestion.” Some studies say alcohol dries up the saliva in the mouth, others say the acid in certain beverages stimulates saliva. The safe bet is to stick with small sips of water. Water helps with constipation and can stop you from overeating.

Holly says,  “I say play with your choices, see what works with your body, but know that if you must drink during a meal, try for minimal and SMALL sips. For me, I drink no liquid when eating. It helps me focus on my chewing and slows me down, which is a good thing. Chugging drinks could add some air to the stomach and cause the feeling of bloating and cause reflux. Drinking acidic drinks, especially dairy, can cause reflux and stomach pain.”