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To Drink Water Before or After Food?

We might be drinking water at the wrong timing and in the wrong way. The best way is to drink water on an empty stomach.

logo3mscience_0This article is brought to you by 3M, delivering creative solutions to world problems. 3M water filters are modern and compact in design. You can easily monitor cartridge life and change it in less than 10 seconds. 3M water filters brings you cleaner, clearer, better tasting drinking water. Learn more about 3M drinking water filtration system for the kitchen and 3M Whole House Filtration System. Check out for current promotions.

“Make sure you drink water after your food ah!”

We’ve been told all our lives by our parents to drink as much water as possible, and it’s likely that we’re telling our children to do the same too. However, there are deductions that we might have gotten it wrong. To understand why, it’s important for us to understand the science behind how our body absorbs water and its nutrients.

Before you continue reading, take a nice gulp of water! Water keeps you alert and by doing so, you can absorb more water knowledge as you read on!

You might be drinking water wrongly

Drinking water at certain timings can actually help your body absorb the water faster and keep your body hydrated longer. Before we get into the best timing to drink water, let’s understand how your body absorbs water.

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An adult drinks an average of 2 liters of water daily. Add that along with the secretions from your saliva, pancreas, liver and Gastrointestinal (GI) tract and you get about 7 liters of liquid entering your GI tract daily [1].

About 90% of those liquid gets absorbed by the small intestine while less than 1 liter of water is absorbed by the large intestine’s colon and finally 100ml of water is absorbed by the feces to be excreted [2]. So you need to drink a lot of water to keep your body going.

Water travels just like solid food matter in your body. But instead of being digested, water gets absorbed the moment you swallow it as it travels from your digestive tract to your intestines [3]. The walls of your small intestines are covered with villi, tiny hair-like projections that stick out and each villi is covered with microvilli, tinier hairs on the surface of each villi. These villus provides a large surface area in your small intestine making it easier to absorb more minerals and nutrients from water and food then into your bloodstream [4].

That’s how water travels around your body to keep your organs strong and hydrated. Each microvilli absorbs different types of vitamins and minerals too [5].

Empty stomach VS Full stomach: When does water travel faster?

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“Sometimes, after drinking a big glass of water, it seems like I pee it all out literally just a few minutes later. Is ingested fluid really processed that quickly?”

Well, to answer to that question, your body could take from 5 to 120 minutes to get all of the water into your bloodstream depending on various factors [5]. Here are some water travel facts that will make you smarter in a jiffy:

  • Faster in empty stomach: Water will travel and be absorbed within 5 minutes when you have no food inside your stomach [6].
  • Faster after intense workout: Because your body needs to rehydrate and cool down [7].
  • Cold and warm travels the same rate: Cold water being absorbed faster is a myth [8].
  • Slower when your stomach is filled with food: Water will travel to your GI tract with your food to be absorbed but, only after your food is digested so it could take more than 45 minutes for water to fully enter your bloodstream [9]. That’s why it’s not advisable to drink water after food.

So, when is the best timing to drink water?

  • After waking up – Drink 2 cups of warm water on empty stomach to replenish your body that has worked overnight to repair its damages [10].
  • Before meals – Try drinking a glass 30 minutes before eating your meal so that it could help fill you up a bit so you won’t eat too much [11]. But try not to drink too much water during your meal because it can disrupt the bile and acid levels in your stomach which can slow down your digestion [12].
  • After eating a meal – Especially after heavy meals loaded with sodium. Drinking a warm glass of water after your meal help your body to digest better [13].
  • Before bed – If you had some drinks before, it is important to drink about 1- 2 glasses of water before collapsing on the bed. Alcohol dehydrates your body so you need water to help your body to flush out all of the alcohol from your system, that way you won’t wake up with a bad hangover [14].
  • Before, during & after sports/ workouts – Drink about 2 cups 2 hours prior your exercise,  take some sips every 15-20 minutes during your workouts and gulp about 2.5 cups for every water weight you lost after your workout [15].
  • When you have dry lips & skin – When you feel your lips and skin are dry (especially in an air-conditioned area) it’s a sign that your body needs water [16].

What are the best ways to drink water?

  • Slow & steady – Drink some water throughout the day. Put a bottle in front of you on your desk so that you can reach for it easier and make it a point to drink some water. Eat more fruits and vegetables as they have a high water content too [17].
  • Check your pee – One way to know if you are dehydrated is to look at your urine colour, if it is dark yellow then you are dehydrated [18].
  • Wash those toxins away – When you are feeling under the weather and you are taking medications, drinking more water will help to flush out the toxins from your kidneys [19].
  • During snack cravings – If you feel like munching on something even after you had your meal, try drinking a glass of water first. Sometimes you feel that way because your body is dehydrated [20].
  • fruit infused waterJazz up your water – Sometimes plain water is just boring so why not squeeze some fruit juice into your water such as lemon, lime and other fruits to flavor it and also give an extra dose of nutrients. We have some flavoured water recipes that you can try here.
  • Not from the bottle – It is not proven that bottled water is cleaner than your home’s own filtered tap water [21]. Invest in a good filter to filter your water for cleaner, safer, better tasting water. Sometimes, bottled water is just treated tap water too [22].

Water makes the world and especially your body go round. From digestion to your organs, water is needed to keep your engines moving. Just always remember to drink before you feel thirsty because when you finally feel it, your body is already dehydrated. Don’t just drink any water; drink only clean, clear and better tasting water from an NSF-approved water filtration system for the best of your health!

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logo3mscience_0This article is brought to you by 3M, a brand with over 75 years of filtration experience, delivering creative solutions to world problems. 3M water filters are modern and compact in design. You can easily monitor cartridge life and change it in less than 10 seconds. Reduces 99.99% of water-borne bacteria and cysts (water-borne parasites), the 3M water filters brings you cleaner, clearer, better tasting drinking water. The 3M drinking water filtration system, DWS2500T-CN is tested and certified by NSF International, an independent lab that ensures all drinking water systems meet strict public health and safety standards. Learn more about 3M drinking water filtration system for the kitchen and 3M Whole House Filtration System. Check out for current promotions.

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So, when do you usually have a glass of water? Discuss with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

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