I have read in many forums and diet advisories that one recommends to drink a glass of mineral water (without gas) about half an hour before every meal. Even though most sources provide no explanation for this recommendation, some mention the effect on gastric juice production or that the fullness/satiety feel that comes with meal can be then achieved with less amount of food.

Is there any evidence that would support this recommendation?

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    Can you provide some sources for this claim? – rjzii Jun 23 '13 at 23:20
  • Hi Alexander. Skeptics works a bit differently from the other SE sites. Please read this page to understand how this site works, and add some notable references for your claim. – nico Jun 24 '13 at 5:42
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    It's easy to find this claim on google, facebook, and elsewhere. (example). The bigger problem I see with this question is that "healthy" needs to be defined. – Flimzy Jun 24 '13 at 5:59
  • Related: skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/1870/4020 – Flimzy Jun 24 '13 at 9:36
  • Define 'health'. It helps increase health in another way. Drinking water before a meal, one is less likely to overeat as the stomach is already partially filled with (zero calorie) water: decrease of calorie intake. If it is cold water, the body has to burn energy to warm this liquid to body temperature: calorie burn. Anorectics use this knowledge all the time. – Cloudkrazed Apr 28 '14 at 9:55

In certain populations, drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal can have a positive effect on health. These studies didn't consider mineral water (but others may have).

In 2007, Walleghen et al. found that pre-meal water consumption reduces meal energy intake in older subjects, but not in younger subjects. (Walleghen 2007)

Whether or not this decrease in energy intake is a "positive effect on health" is a different question, not addressed by the study. They suggest one circumstance that it could be considered a positive effect on health: "older adults, [that] are at increased risk for overweight and obesity". However, they also say that "intervention studies are needed to determine whether pre-meal water consumption is an effective long-term weight management strategy for the aging population". (Walleghen 2007)

In 2008, Davy et al. repeated this study, but focussing on overweight and obese older adults. (Davy 2008) They found that "meal energy intake was significantly less in the water preload condition as compared with the no-preload condition". (Davy 2008) Like Walleghen et al, they also say that "given the high prevalence of overweight and obesity among older adults, future studies should determine whether premeal water consumption is an effective long-term weight control strategy for older adults". (Davy 2008)

Dennis et al. performed a longer term study in 2010. (Dennis 2010) They found that pre-meal water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. (Dennis 2010) Regarding the health benefit of this result, they say that "identifying successful weight management strategies for middle-aged and older adults has significant public health implications". (Dennis 2010)

Son et al. recommend drinking water before a meal in elderly people who suffer postprandial hypotension (after-eating low blood pressure). (Son 2010)


Daniels, M. C., & Popkin, B. M. (2010). Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review. Nutrition reviews, 68(9), 505-521.

Davy, B. M., Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Wilson, K. L., & Davy, K. P. (2008). Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(7), 1236-1239.

Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Savla, J., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2010). Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle‐aged and Older Adults. Obesity, 18(2), 300-307.

Son, J. T., & Lee, E. (2010). Effect of Water Drinking on the Postprandial Fall of Blood Pressure in the Elderly. Journal of Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, 17(3), 304-313.

Walleghen, E. L., Orr, J. S., Gentile, C. L., & Davy, B. M. (2007). Pre‐meal Water Consumption Reduces Meal Energy Intake in Older but Not Younger Subjects. Obesity, 15(1), 93-99.

  • iow having something in your stomach prior to a meal reduces the amount you will probably consume during that meal. IOW it doesn't really matter what you drink, but water contains no calories so has the biggest effect on reducing caloric intake. – jwenting Jun 24 '13 at 11:07
  • @jwenting If water has the biggest effect, then it does matter what you drink. – user5582 Jun 24 '13 at 14:31
  • @jwenting Are you suggesting an improvement to my answer? – user5582 Jun 26 '13 at 13:46

A New York Times article in November 2010 reviewed the scientific literature and concluded "Drinking water before a meal can reduce calorie intake, though the effect seems most prominent in older people."

I do note that the studies involved regular [tap] water. I doubt very much that anyone has studied the effect of mineral water versus regular water with regard to drinking before meals.

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protected by Community Jul 10 '16 at 16:11

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