Mastering Appetite: How Hydration Affects Your Hunger | Expert Advice

Mastering Appetite: How Hydration Affects Your Hunger | Expert Advice
Published on, 04 June, 2024. Answered by Dr. Bela Sachdeva and Verified by Dr.Galen Team
Patient Question

Dear Doctor,

I hope this message finds you well. I have a question regarding the consumption of water and soda before meals. I've observed that my son's girlfriend allows her children to drink quite a lot of water and soda before eating, and it appears to decrease their appetite. Could drinking a large amount of liquid before a meal create a feeling of fullness, leading to reduced hunger?

Answered by Dr. Bela Sachdeva


Thank you for reaching out to Dr. Galen. Please find the below response to your query.


Firstly, it's commendable that you're mindful of your family's dietary habits, especially concerning the younger members. Let's delve into the impact of consuming excessive liquids, particularly aerated beverages, before meals.

When it comes to hydration, water is indeed essential for overall health and well-being. However, the timing of its consumption in relation to meals is crucial. Intake of liquids, including water and soda, immediately before or during meals can potentially affect the digestive process.

Drinking significant amounts of water or soda right before a meal may create a sensation of fullness in the stomach. This feeling of fullness can, in turn, lead to a decreased appetite or a reduced desire to consume food. Essentially, the stomach gets filled with liquid, leaving less space for solid food.

Moreover, aerated drinks, such as soda, contain added sugars and artificial additives that can have adverse effects on health, particularly in children. Excessive consumption of sugary beverages is associated with various health risks, including dental problems, weight gain, and increased risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity.

Furthermore, habitual intake of large volumes of liquid before meals can potentially stretch the stomach over time. A stretched stomach may require more food to feel satisfied, contributing to overeating in the long run. This habit can disrupt the body's natural hunger cues and lead to unhealthy eating patterns.

Therefore, it is advisable to encourage moderation and mindful consumption of liquids, especially before meals. Water intake is best timed at least 20 minutes before a meal or one hour after to optimize digestion and prevent dilution of digestive enzymes.

In conclusion, while hydration is vital, it's essential to strike a balance and be mindful of the timing and quantity of liquid intake, particularly in relation to meals. Encouraging healthy drinking habits and promoting a balanced diet can contribute to overall well-being and optimal digestion.

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