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JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 11, 2012


JAMA. 2012;307(2):125. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1910

Pursuant to a tradition of long standing, it is a common custom to forbid the drinking of water at mealtime. There was a time when such advice appeared most reasonable. The grounds therefor are summed up in the following quotation from a recent writer:1

“We can lay down the definite and certain rule that it [water] should never be drunk at meals, and preferably not for at least one hour after the meal has been eaten. The effect of drinking water while eating is, first, to artificially moisten the food, thus hindering the normal and healthful flow of saliva and the other digestive juices; secondly, to dilute the various juices to an abnormal extent; and thirdly, to wash the food elements through the stomach and into the intestines before they have had time to become thoroughly liquefied and digested. The effects of this on the welfare of the whole organism can only be described as direful.”

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