Some people avoid drinking cold water with meals because they think it might impair digestion, while others drink only cold water because they think it helps them burn more calories. Unfortunately, there's not much evidence to support either reasoning. But drinking enough water, with or without ice, is important for good health.
Cold Water and Digestion
Purposely avoiding drinking cold water with meals is an Ayurvedic practice. The ancient Indian medical practice believes that drinking cold water puts out your digestive fire, leading to indigestion of the food in your stomach. There's not much evidence to support Ayurvedic practices, however, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, or that drinking cold water after meals harms your body in any way. In fact, drinking water, whether warm or cold, benefits digestion by helping to prevent constipation.
Cold Water and Calorie Burning
Drinking a glass of cold water burns slightly more calories than a glass of warm water, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Science. But it's only an extra 8 calories. If you're drinking cold water after you eat to help you lose weight or burn more calories, those 8 calories aren't going to make enough of a difference to help. Exercise, not drinking cold water, helps you burn more calories.
Cold Might Be Better
When it comes to water temperature, cold water might be better than warmer water. Columbia Health reports that cold water leaves the stomach faster than room-temperature water, which makes it a better choice when you're trying to rehydrate. It's also cooling, which is helpful when it's hot outside. You might drink more if it's cold, too. People prefer the taste of cold water, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
Water Drinking Tips
The University of Arkansas says men need 15 cups of water a day and women 11 cups. While some of this comes from foods in your diet -- fluid-rich fare like fruits and vegetable -- the rest of it comes from fluids you drink.
Drinking a cup or two of water, whether cold or room temperature, after you eat a meal can help you meet your daily water needs. It may also help fill you up so you feel more satisfied, which may lead you eat less if weight loss is one of your goals.
- Dr. Sinatra: Drinking Cold Water With Meals? Think Again
- Columbia Health: Is Drinking Cold Water Harmful?
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine: Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Fluid Needs
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Does Drinking Cold Water Burn More Calories Than Warm Water?
- American College of Sports Medicine: Exercise and Fluid Replacement
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.