On eating and drinking simultaneously

Flanders, Netherlands
And not a glass in sight… or is there?

It has been a few weeks not so much hectic as rather completely crzay, hence my kind and loyal readers might with reason consider themselves somewhat neglected by this blog. In order to put that right, I shall attempt a brief post on a useful topic which may be of help to many people.

Some years ago my dear friend Leslie Grufford informed me that you should not eat and drink at the same time. I was not convinced of this at the time as I knew that Mr Grufford was prone to making statements that I didn’t agree with, although with the passage of time some of them have increased their plausibility and this statement of his is no exception. Looking at the matter today I trawled the internet looking for opinions on whether you should avoid fluid intake close to mealtimes and if so why?

Of course I had an inkling myself of why this should be, and this was confirmed by those who said that the stomach contents are flushed into the lower reaches of the Alimentary Canal more quickly if you drink fluids, whereas it hangs around longer in the “pouch” as some commentators put it, if you don’t drink at the same time, which not only enables the feeling of fulltitude to happen with less food, but also better digestion of the nutrients in the food.

Which all kind of makes sense. The best reason to have liquids at hand is of course in case you find yourself choking, but hopefully that doesn’t happen very often and if anxiety to avoid choking makes you eat slower, then well, there’s a third advantage.

It is one thing to know the above though, and quite another to put it into practice. People like to have a drink with meals and there are some social kinds of eating which rather call for the drinking of fluids at the same time.

Maybe we need to change social morays and other sociable eels like the conga in order to reflect what actually is conducive to better health. Maybe we should wait for a good hour after desert before we start to drink coffee. In a lot of restaurants I’ve been at that tends to be what can happen anyway even whn you don’t want it to, so maybe that should be formalised and written into the newest editions of Debretts?

Aperitifs and wine with meals which are included in the price with certain set posh meals are a big temptation to let all that go by the board on occasion, but if that happens at least we need to get back on the programme when we are eating in normal life. It isn’t what happens on conferenced that determines if we are fat or thin, but what happens in our own kitchens and dining rooms and at our desks or canteens at work.

I will say this – an unexpected side effect I noticed when becoming vegetarian was that the desire to drink while eating automtically went down. I need to remember to drink after meals.

The recommendations people on line say that their doctors had given them is not drinkning from 15 minutes before eating a meal to 30 minutes or in some cases 60 minutes after finishing eating. Maybe 45 minutes is a good compromise. I like the 80:20 rule but I’m not sure it would apply here very well.

11 thoughts on “On eating and drinking simultaneously

    1. Naja. Ich will diesen Spiegelartikel nicht dementieren, aber in meinem Artikel handelt es um etwas ein Bisschen anders.

      Ich will nicht leugnen, dass Beim-Essen-Trinken keine Benachteiligung der Verdauung mit sich bringt, und zwar ganz im Gegenteil – aber mir geht es darum, dass ein dicker Mann nicht unbedingt seine Verdauung behilflich sein will, da er sowieso eine wunderbare Verdauung hat, und sein grosser Bauch ist ein lebendiges Tropheum seiner Verdauungsfaehigkeiten.

      Es ist besser fuer uns deswegen, die Verdauung etwas zu verklemmen, und daher ein Gefuehl der Sattheit zu bekommen bevor man alle Kalorien gegessen hat, welche man mit Fluessigkeit haette einnehmen koennen. Das ist natuerlich fuer uns sehr wunschenswert, deswegen ist es fuer uns eigentlich die gesundere Option auch wenn es – aus dem reinen Hinsicht der Verdauung selbst – nicht am artgerechtigsten ist.

      Hoffentlich ist mein Deutsch verstehbar. Der Artikel hat es verursacht, dass ich weiter Deutsch benutzen wollte.

    1. Some people swear by chicken broth as a cure-all. Certainly Jewish traditions make a lot of it, and from them also Polish cuisine makes a big deal out of rosol, as they call it. It is a useful pick-me-up while on a liquids only fast, and it is very useful to tide oneself over between meals as an alternative to tea or coffee.

      For those eating chickens, the best chickens to use are older ones, like an old rooster who has served his days making hens happy and waking your neighbours up in the morning while you blithely sleep through it. He has tough meat and is unpalatable. His Chicken Kiev would be more of a Chicken Maydan. But boiled into broth he gives you more microelements than Mendeleyev himself wrote about in the song “On the road to Mendeleyev, where the flying fishes playev”.

  1. Fulltitude? Once again we are witnessing the venerable Viktor, a word smith at his forge, pounding on the lexicon, welding old, weary words into wholly new ones amidst the sparks and blows of his linguistic hammer. Bravo!

    1. Great to see you, Ken. I would have a big request for you if you have time – I’m about to do a Hawaiian series and I need a royalty-free theme tune.

  2. I wonder if the reason you felt less of a desire to drink while eating after going vegetarian was that your food contained less salt? Or maybe more water?

    1. That could be the reason. In any event, it was and remains quite noticeable. I also read that the view that we need to drink 2 litres a day is a bit of a myth. I would say that depends a good deal on how hot it is and how humid and what the person is doing. For some people it would simply be too much, and for others too little. The idea that we should drink only when we are thirsty seems a good deal more sensible to me.

  3. I sometimes forget to drink while eating, even though I intend to, but I also do forget to drink most of the time, so overall my drinking habits aren’t that healthy. And I’m talking about water intake, of course, not the other, traditional kind of drinking problems.

    After I read this post, I looked at the picture and smiled a bit at the text below it, before I realized that there is a glass of water (by the looks of it) right in the middle. Maybe I’m missing the joke, of maybe you didn’t see it right away, either.

  4. A doctor once told me that drinking (water) while eating dilutes the gastric fluids,slowing down digestion. The drawback with drinking wine with food is that it lowers your inhibitions and you tend to eat more than is really good for you.

Your thoughts welcome, by all mean reply also to other community members!