“Boss, ais kosong (iced water) satu”, or “Kak, suet cha (iced tea) satu” are quite possibly one of the most commonly heard statements in mamaks and coffee shops. That’s only natural though, especially with our Malaysian weather constantly making it seem as though we’re living in the desert.
If this is you, odds are you’ve heard your elders lecturing you about the drawbacks of cold drinks and how it can mess up your body and digestive system if you take them during meals.
BUT, is this true though? Is having cold beverages during meals actually bad? Here’s what we found out!
1. Contrary to popular belief, cold water does NOT slow down digestion
You’ve probably heard your mum tell you that drinking cold drinks while eating is bad for digestion. Well, apparently, that’s not true!
This belief actually stems from an ancient Ayurvedic practice, where Indian people back in the day believed that drinking cold water would put out your “digestive fire”, leading to indigestion. Since then, many have taken on this belief and we even hear it to this day. Fortunately, there is no such thing as a “digestive fire” and there are no scientific researches that prove cold water actually slows down the digestive process. In fact, it does the opposite!
2. Cold drinks will NOT solidify the oil and fats from food in your system
Many Malaysians believe that drinking cold drinks will cause the oil and fats in our bodies to solidify, increasing our chances at a heart attack and other health complications, but this is (thankfully) untrue!
Because of our body’s large mass, 37-degree temperature and ability to circulate blood at a high rate, any cold beverage we partake will end up warming up to the temperature of our bodies. In a nutshell, cold drinks will only stay cold for a few seconds before becoming the same temperature as our bodies; and in case Science wasn’t your favourite subject in school, oil and fats do not solidify at body temperature.
3. It doesn’t really matter if your drinks are hot OR cold
You’ve probably heard your parents or grandparents tell you that you should have hot drinks with your food to speed up digestion, but is this true? Turns out, not really!
Although there have been countless researches carried out to study the relationship between temperature and digestion, many of those researches came up with different conclusions. A study done in 1988 by the University of Sheffield found that both hot and cold drinks slowed down digestion, while another study in 1989 found that hot and cold temperatures had no effect on digestion whatsoever.
What neither studies found, however, was whether or not hot and/or cold drinks helped speed up the digestion process. Meaning, whatever you drink, hot or cold, doesn’t really matter. So, if anyone tells you to order hot drinks next time because it’s “good for digestion”, make sure you debunk that myth!
Ultimately, water – in whatever temperature – is crucial for digestion and good for your body. If you’re thirsty before, during or even after a meal, drink up! After all, feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you, “give me water”! Don’t deprive your body of water just because of an old wives’ tale.
Of course, ordering sugary drinks like Coke or Teh Ais is a different story altogether. Stick to good ol’ H2O, guys!
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