Why the Japanese don’t drink water with meals

Tuesday, 18/07/2023, 16:59 (GMT+7)

Many people have the habit of drinking more glasses of filtered water when eating. Is this habit good or bad?

In Western countries, it is common to be served a generous glass of water with ice and lemon slices when dining at a restaurant. However, in Japan, it receives a small cup of water instead.

This difference in practice stems from the belief in Japanese culture that drinking water during a meal can hinder the efficiency of the "digestive fire." They believe that water can make it more difficult for the body to digest a meal.

1.  Drinking water before eating stimulates saliva secretion

Surprisingly, drinking water during a meal can actually reduce saliva production. This effect is particularly noticeable when adding a slice of lemon to the water, as it creates an acidic drink that affects saliva secretion.

Additionally, saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy oral environment, a dry mouth caused by reduced saliva can lead to bad breath. 

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Meanwhile, lemon water may exacerbate certain health conditions, such as acid reflux, and can damage the enamel on your teeth.

2. Drinking water before eating can be harmful to the digestive tract.

The Japanese believe that drinking water while eating dilutes saliva. This affects the secretion of gastric juice, which is responsible for digesting food. As a result, the stomach becomes bloated, making it difficult to break down food.

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3 Drinking water with meals can slow down nutrient absorption.

Drinking water while eating can dilute your digestive juices, thereby reducing the natural acidity level of your stomach. This not only negatively affects your digestive system but also hinders the absorption of vitamins and nutrients.

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4. Drinking water with meals can give you heartburn.

Japanese people do not drink water with meals because it adds bulk to the stomach and increases pressure on the stomach.

Consequently, this practice may exacerbate certain health conditions and raise the risk of acid reflux. Additionally, drinking water with meals reduces the secretion of digestive enzymes in the body, which can lead to a host of side effects, including heartburn.

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5. Drinking water with meals causes weight gain.

Why does drinking water while eating cause weight gain? The reason is that when water is consumed with a meal, it may hinder the efficient digestion of food, leading to the conversion of undigested food into fat, which can result in weight gain.

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Additionally, having water with meals can trigger the release of insulin in the body, increasing the likelihood of fat storage