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Drinking beverages during meals major cause of fat bellies. Dr. Faisal Khan

Drinking beverages during meals major cause of fat bellies.

Dr. Faisal Khan




Drinking beverages during meals is our national habit. As per World Health Organization (WHO) Pakistani nation is generally classified as malnourished, but same time we are ranked 9th out of 188 countries in terms of fat bellies, because more than 50% of the population in Pakistan have fat tummies. This situation is the major cause of so many diseases including, heart disease, gallbladder disease including gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for short episodes during sleep) and asthma. Fat belly also can lead to illnesses from acute to chronic, some very severe and deadly, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, coronary vascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.







In Pakistan the most common causes of fat belly are overeating, drinking beverages during meals, mental stress, physical inactivity, metabolic problems and unawareness from balanced diet. Fat belly is generally caused by eating too much and moving too little. If we consume high amounts of energy, particularly fat and sugars, but don’t burn off the energy through exercise and physical activity, much of the surplus energy will be stored by the body as fat. Other main causes of fat tummy are, eating processed or fast food high in fat,Lack of fiber in our diets, not eating fruits, low consumption of vegetables and unrefined carbohydrates such as whole meal bread and brown rice, drinking too much beverages & liquids while having meals, tea &“sharbat” are our national drinks. Our sleep pattern is also not aligned with nature, sleeping most part of the day and staying up for whole night is never good for health and can causedeposits around belly and weight gain.


Eating patterns in rural & urban areas and our food menus have so many question marks from dieticians. This is in our tradition, that we always entertain our guests with the plenty of servings of Cold drinks, beverages, sweets and meetha panwith full of sugar. We always celebrate our festivals with distribution of laddu, gulab-jamun, jalebi, barfi, rassgullay& other types of “metthai”. We are known as a top sugar loving nation, even the sugar is a product which can topple the government by price hike, as per our national history in the era of 1970s.


In our society most of men have an issue, they don’t feel as much attraction to their wife as they were used to feel earlier, because, when they met their wife first time, she was slim, smart & gorgeous.But just after one or two kids she started put on a considerable amount of weight, has a big tummy and rolls of fat. when this happens, most men do not find their women attractive any longer. Men with fat bellies are also considered as ugly, unattractive and undesirable by their life partners.


Whenever we compare our self as a nation with other nationalities in different international gatherings and multi-nations participated events, unfortunately we find so many deficiencies, including lack of body fitness & charm. Most of times we find our self with big fat tummies. Even if we are good in education, good in financial status, but very rarely we are careful about our physical appearance. It’s a reality that most of us have big fat bellies and we are destroying our natural grace of personality, grace of knowledge, grace of education and also grace of our intelligence.


Generally, we love to eat spicier and chat-patti food, which caused to develop a national habit of drinking too much beverages and cold water while having our meals, so main aim to write this article to inform and educate the general public about disadvantages of drinking beverages and cold water while taking lunch and dinners. We have to get rid from our habit to take cold drinks and too much water & liquids while having our meals.Our stomach contains digestive acids that help in the digestion and breakdown of food. Apart from this, these juices are also responsible for killing any infectious agents that might be ingested along with food. Also known as the ‘digestive fire’.These digestive enzymes are essential for our overall well-being as they also allow the stomach to contract and thrash the food we eat. When this fire is diluted with water, it not only dulls the entire system but may cause cramping of the intestinal wall in some individuals. This inactivity of the entire digestive process allows food to remain in the stomach for longer and slows the process of passing digested food into the small intestine for the absorption of nutrients. Our stomachs have a knack of knowing when we will eat and starts releasing digestive juices immediately. If we start drinking water at the same time, what we are actually doing is diluting the digestive juices being released to digest our food, thusdelaying them from breaking down food, we are eating during having meals.


Our saliva is the first step to digestion. Not only does it contain enzymes that help break down food, but it also helps stimulate the stomach to release digestive enzymes and ready itself for the process of digestion. When we drink water during our meals, our saliva gets diluted. This not only sends weaker signals to the stomach but also stops the breakdown of food in our mouth – making digestion that much more difficult. This situation is a major cause of acidity, if we suffer from constant sessions of acidity, then this habit might be to blame. Since drinking water dilutes our digestive system, it leads to a chain-reaction of ill-effects. The stomach continues to absorb water till it gets saturated, after that, this water starts to dilute gastric juices; making the mixture much thicker than normal. This leads to lesser digestive enzymes being secreted, causing undigested food to leak into our system causing to acid reflux and heart burn.


Drinking water while we are eating can also lead to a rush-flow in our insulin levels, much like high glycaemic foods would. This is because when our body is not able to digest foods well enough it tends to convert the glucose filled part of that food into fat and stores it. This process then requires a gush of insulin in the body increasing our overall blood sugar deposits.Another common side-effect of drinking water with our meals is the fact that we do tend to put on weight. As explained earlier, there is a surge in insulin levels and food is broken down to make fat which is stored. Apart from that, according to recent researchers it is proved that a weak digestive fire is one of the leading reasons for obesity. Not only does this lead to an imbalance between the digestive elements in the body, but it also leads to the disruption in the way our body works.


While the practice of drinking beverages and too much water while having meal is bad for health, there are a few ways we can overcome the need to drink water during our meals.We should have meals with less spices &salt. Spices & salt are tend to make us thirsty during having meal, so it is best we lessen the intake of these compounds. Don’t gulp down food, chew it well. Chewing our food has a number of health benefits, and one of those is the fact that our saliva helps hasten the process of digestion. Moreover, well chewed food is easier to breakdown and assimilate, allowing our digestive system to do its job well. Apart from all this, one great benefit of this practice is the fact that as we chew, the amount of saliva produced increases, beating the urge to drink water.


Drinking water 30 minutes before our meal is always the best for our health and helpful to reduce weight. We should ideally drink room temperature water before our meals if we wish to lose weight and have a healthy metabolism. This practice also beats the urge to drink water during one’s meals.We also can prevent our self from fat belly by exercise regularly. We need to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to prevent weight gain. We have to follow a healthy eating plan, we should also know and avoid the food traps that cause us to eat more than our body requirements and we should monitor our weight regularly.


There is a need to educate the masses about disadvantages of belly fat, obesity, fast food, beverages, extra salty or sugary products. There is also need for awareness campaigns with the help of print & electronic media to educate the people regarding advantages of healthy life style, healthy food, balanced eating habits, importance of healthy activities, importance of daily exercise & sports, importance of gym, play grounds, walking tracks, public parks, sports clubs, with an aim to educate the people about eating& drinking wisely if you want to keep your belly down and body best.



Dr. Faisal Khan


Al-Dar Hospital Madina Munawara, Saudi Arabia.


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