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For someone who wants to lose weight, is it good to drink lots of water with food to fill up the stomach and, as a result, eat less?
The amount of water you drink with food depends on the type of food you are eating. According to ayurveda, as a general rule, it is not recommended that you drink a large amount of water with a meal. If you drink a lot of water, you dampen the digestive fire or agni and increase the possibility of creating ama or toxins in your system that are a consequence of improperly digested food.
Charaka suggests in his ancient treatise on ayurveda that you take a little sip of water after every four or five bites. However, as I said at the beginning, the type of food you are eating makes a difference to the quantity of water you should drink. For example, if you are having a meal that consists mainly of liquid foods like soups, you probably don't need any additional water. If you are eating mainly dry foods, like crackers, a little water will help lubricate the system.
If you are eating lots of hot, spicy foods such as chili peppers, such foods tend to increase digestive agni, so a little water helps restore balance. Deep-fried foods need extra-high agni for proper breakdown, so lots of water should be avoided, especially if it is cold. If you need to drink water with heavy foods, it is better to choose lukewarm water, in very moderate quantity.
Please note: This ayurvedic information is education. It does not replace medical advice or treatments.