Living in Asia for so many years, I’ve always observed how many people drink warm or sometimes hot water. I’ve always been lectured by my Chinese friends not to consume cold and icy drinks, but I must admit most of the time I chose to ignore them. Back then I didn’t dig deeper to find out why is it so bad to consume cold drinks. After finding out the reason I have been trying to stay away from cold drinks, and now I have it only on very rare occasion.
So what happens in your body when you drink cold drinks?
When cold water hits the stomach, the body is forced to use energy in order to warm up that liquid inside your body to match that of the body’s natural temperature. This robs your body of the energy it needs to properly process what you have ingested. Instead of working to extract all the foods nutrients, your digestive system is instead working on regulating the temperature of the cold drink.
Studies also indicate that the problem with cold water is that as the liquid passes through your system, the cool temperature solidifies fats from the foods we’ve eaten and thus the body in turn finds it hard to digests the unwanted fats from our stomach.
Ayurvedic doctors are especially again drinking cold water with meals as they say this will cause you to ‘extinguish’ your fire which drives digestion and metabolism. Lately there has been some talks that ice water actually makes you loose weight as your body uses energy to warm it up once ingested. Yes your body metabolism speeds up to about 4 extra calories per 8 ounces of water. However this diverts the energy which is suppose to be used for digestion.
Some doctors believe cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion. Once this “sludge” reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer.
In Asia, one of the most common questions traditional doctors will ask is if you consume cold drinks. If the answer is yes, they will ask you to stop immediately. I have noticed great improvements with my digestion since I’ve been avoiding cold beverages and I really make the conscious effort to either consume hot drinks or room temperature. I have seen the effect on my daughter as well. We have always been giving her slightly cooler water and on and off she would have this strange cough which was not connected to a flu. So I started giving her warmer water and the cough was completely gone.
Why not give it a try? Replace your cold drinks with warmer ones and see if there is any changes in your digestion or health in general. This could also help you loose weight as your body uses all the energy to digest the food instead of focusing on warming up the ice water you are ingesting. You can even go a step further and have fluids only 30min to 1 hour after your meal as you don’t want to dilute your stomach juices which are used for digestion. This is not such an easy habit to change, but if you chew your food properly, your saliva should be able to push the food down your GI tract without any help from extra liquids.