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Drinking water at meal times might be a bad idea

“I drink 4-5 gallons a day—I still have a spare tyre and eat cakes in my sleep, but at least I have that water thing covered”

I see it in comment threads everywhere aswell as blog posts

Sure, it’s healthy to drink a sh*t-load of water on every day ending in the letter ‘Y’, but I more interested in people becoming aware as to why they are drinking so much water and not only that — making sure their water intake is timed around set periods of the day.

So why is drinking water at meal times a bad idea?

The old-school mantra of ‘washing down your dinner with a glass of water’ does in fact, do you more disservice than good. Downing a glass of water during or post-meal times dilutes the acid in your stomach, which is used to break down the food you ingest.

Before you know it, you’re belching and you’re not sure why. Indigestion anyone?

More often than not, you’ll keep drinking MORE water to rid the indigestion when it will probably make it worse. I’m guilty of this myself. It’s an automatic reaction that’s been instilled in us by our parents, and their parents before them.

The bastards.

This will ultimately hinder your muscle-gain

If you’re on a mass-building program, you might wanna write this one down. Minimal food break-down by stomach acids leads to less than average digestion.

If your body isn’t given the best chance of absorbing the nutrients you’re feeding it, you’re severely short-changing your progress in the gym.

Time most of your intake around your training and before meals

This might seem like common sense, but I’m going to spell it out here anyway. Studies have shown that drinking water BEFORE meals does aid in weight-loss.


Because it fills you up somewhat prior to eating, thus preventing you from eating several hundreds of extra calories you would have normally eaten. Not really the rocket science you were looking for was it?

I know — I was disappointed too.

What else can I drink with a meal then?

Green tea has been shown to aid in the digestion process. I wouldn’t given up drinking red wine with my meals when I go out for a steak either.

To sum it up

By all means, you should be drinking a heap of water on your path to fat-loss. You just need to make sure you put down the jug whilst you eat your meals.

Finding it difficult with your 8 meals a day meal plan to do so? In coming weeks, I’ll be showing you how the 3 meal-a-day option can work for you and help you shift the MOST stubborn fat of them all—Belly fat.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Well first time I’ve heard that, I’ll have to give it some thought… food stays in your digestive track for a very long time i wonder how much water you need to drink before acid becomes so diliuted?

  • Indra (Belgium) says:

    Belly fat the most stubborn of all? Maybe for men.

    My hips refuse to let the fat go *grunt*

  • Bryan says:

    I heard this a while back. It makes sense if you think about it. Filling your stomach up with water while eating will cause the stomach will dilute the stomach acid. This will cause the stomach to not pull out all of the nutrients from the food and start to push the food through the system before everything is gained from the nutrients. I used to drink over a gallon a day and it was rough. It didn’t really help since I gained weight from carrying so much water. ( Of course the weight dropped every night after I pissed 2-3 times throughout the night ) I dropped my water intake to 1/2 gallon a day plus some tea throughout the day. I just plop down with an 8 oz glass of water with every meal and sip it throughout the meal. Also, on a side note. I have changed my diet habits to the 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating cycle. I have already lost 4 pounds on this. But I am also lowering my carb intake to allow my body to burn my fat buildup. So far, this is working great.

  • Clint Nielsen says:

    Feel free to find some timings and Ill update the article ;)

    Well, I think the hips will fall under the same category in the article. I promise itll be relevant for you :)

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to ‘overdoing’ water consumption. I used to be the same and got caught up in worrying about how much I was ingesting every single day. It shouldn’t be THAT difficult, and in all honesty, it isn’t!
    That’s fantastic that the fast is working for you. I’m also mixing up my fasting patterns at the moment to throw a spanner in the works. More on that later…

  • Clint,

    Interesting piece of information. I didn’t know about the whole stomach acid thing. I actually do drink a lot of water, but not so much with my meals as just throughout the day when I’m not eating anything.


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  • My grandmother used to slap my hands if I drank water during lunch time, not sure she knows anything about the acid, however it worked because I got in the habit. this is good info, I had no idea about water breaking down the acid.

    Thansk man

  • I am glad you Clint bring it to the light , because it is very important that you are drink at the right time and right thing ( like juice in morning and water after meal ) as when we eat the cells in stomach produce acid to start process of dissolving the food and brake it down to the nutrition elements that later on will repare the health and energy of our cells. So the normally acidity will help to digest the food and drinking water at that time will reduce the concentration of acidity and will cause bad digestion .You need to drink water after meal in 40 minutes approximately . When I started following this scheme of water intake I fill my self not hungry for longer and my digestion is improved.

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