I know there is a lot of talk about drinking during a meal leading to dilution of stomach acid. I supplement with betaine HCl because I believe I have low stomach acid. However, I was thinking today about the water content of whole foods like tubers, veggies, and even meat, and reflecting on the fact that they tend to have high water content. I have been eating a lot of low-moisture high-fat foods like butter, oils, and cheese, and experiencing delayed gastric emptying. I thought it was best to avoid consuming any liquids around mealtime, but then I thought...
our saliva exists to wet the food and make it mushy...
it all becomes liquid (chyme) anyway...
and there is fluid in whole foods...
so what I'm wondering is could it possibly delay digestion to consume food without ENOUGH water? could eating a bunch of dry/fatty food lead to extra work for the stomach and delayed gastric emptying?
it seems plausible to me. What do you think? In any case, I am going to try to drink a bit with meals and see if it helps.
asked bynursling (1178)
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on November 01, 2012
at 01:48 AM
Yes, there does seem to be info to support Control of Gastric Emptying by adjusting liquids/solids of a meal. Assuming the fast-food examples in this source still apply to whole foods.
Note the composition of the liquid is a factor and water would empty faster, water content of foods would empty slower.
For liquids, the principal determinant of rate of gastric emptying is volume and, secondarily, composition. If the liquid is low in nutrients (e.g. water), there is an exponential relationship between volume and rate of emptying - large volumes empty at an exponentially faster rate than small volumes.
However, if the fluid is hypertonic or acidic or rich in nutrients such as fat or certain amino acids, the rate of gastric emptying will be considerably slower and non-exponential. Indeed, the rate of gastric emptying of any meal can be predicted rather accurately by knowing its nutrient density.
Also consider the gastric emptying effects on blood glucose levels.
on November 01, 2012
at 04:57 AM
Just as interesting a question is what other liquids outside of water facilitate/hinder digestion. A lot of people tout wine but I haven't found that to do much in the way of gastric emptying. What does do the trick is kombucha with a meal. Maybe it's the enzymes, perhaps it's the acidity. I tend to brew mine fairly strong.
on November 01, 2012
at 01:59 AM
I've heard both sides of the argument. I've tested many different combos as well. Massive meals without liquid. Massive meals with liquid. Massive meals with HCL. Massive meals with HCL and liquid. I can't say I've noticed a huge difference in gastric emptying and more importantly, bowel consistency and timing. This seems to be commonplace if you're gut is "healthy" and adaptable. You're going to be able to digest even large amounts of food as long as you have the proper enzymes. Fluids shouldn't make a huge difference. Now, whether you're absorbing everything from the meal is another story, which is very difficult to test with observation.
I think like many answers, it depends on your goals. Like I said, I've eaten some absolutely ridiculous quantities of food at once and have found both HCL supplementation and consistent fluids are preferred. This is especially true with a ton of protein (some days, upwards of 300 grams). Most bodybuilders would tell you to keep the adequate quantity of food rolling in and to minimize 24-hours of constant discomfort as the GI empties, digestive enzymes and hydration is very crucial.
on October 30, 2012
at 11:25 AM
The advice I've generally seen is that if one is not otherwise compromised by a condition that interferes with it, one can generally let thirst guide water consumption. The feeling of thirst kicks in well before dehydration occurs--that is its purpose. Adequate salt intake seems important for sufficient stomach acid production as well.