Is it Bad to Drink Cold Water With a Meal?

The myth that it is bad to drink cold water with meals is a variation on a popular rumor that has become widespread both on and off the Internet. On closer examination, however, it turns that it is only that -- a rumor -- and in the vast majority of cases, is not supported by actual scientific research.

woman drinking a glass of ice water (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Drinking Cold Water

There are two parts to the erroneous myth that drinking cold water with a meal is bad. First, drinking cold water itself is not bad, it is actually better for you. Go Ask Alice, a resource by Columbia University Health Services, states that cold water is actually absorbed from your stomach into your body more quickly than warm water.

Drinking Water with a Meal

The second part of the myth, that drinking the water with a meal is bad, is also wrong. Drinking water with a meal is beneficial for your body. Rather than diluting your stomach acid and inhibiting digestion, it can actually help your digestion work more efficiently by helping break down the food in your stomach. In addition, it helps fill your stomach up so you eat fewer calories in one sitting.

Benefits of Water

You should be drinking water with your meals because it offers other health benefits besides helping digestion. Water comprises about 60 percent of a healthy body weight, and is used by every system in your body. Water keeps your organs and tissues moist, it is a component of your blood, and it helps remove toxins from your body. Without it, your body cannot function correctly.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, doctors generally recommend that you drink between eight and nine 8-oz. glasses of water and other liquids per day. If you drink a glass or two of water with each meal, you are getting a head start on staying hydrated. You should also drink water when you exercise, to replace the fluids you are losing through your sweat.

Dangers of Dehydration

You can avoid dehydration by drinking water frequently throughout the day. Dehydration can be caused by exercise without rehydrating, diarrhea, vomiting or illness. Symptoms can include a dry mouth, fatigue, a decrease in urine, dry skin, headache and dizziness. However, dehydration is preventable by drinking water often, including before and during your meals.

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