Can you eat water?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat water?” and discuss what are the ways of eating water.

Can you eat water?

Yes, you can eat water. Eating water means eating the solid form of water, when ice cream is ingested. Ice cream is a food containing ice crystals, which are water molecules organized into a solid phase within a fluid (2).

Eating water can also mean the ingestion of water in the form of liquids and solids, as food contains water, especially fruits and vegetables (1).

Why should you ingest water?

You should ingest water to keep yourself hydrated. Water is quantitatively the most important nutrient.

Water comprises 75% body weight in infants to 55% in elderly. In order to maintain health, water is needed for the hydration of cells, the regulation of body temperature, the regular digestion process, the elimination of toxins and the proper function of cognition.

Water intake helps regulate blood volume. Water intake acutely reduces heart rate and increases blood pressure in both normotensive and hypertensive individuals. In addition, particularly in individuals with low initial water intake, it can improve skin thickness and density (1).

How much water should you ingest?

You should ingest about 2 liters of water daily if you are a woman and 2.5 liters if you are a man according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and 2.3 liters per day if you are a woman and 3.3 liters if you are a man, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (3). 

However, as stated by scientists, an exact average daily water intake requirement cannot be provided due to significant variations in water needs that are influenced by a range of factors such as individual metabolism, environmental conditions, and physical activity.

What are the risks of ingesting not enough water?

The risk of ingesting not enough water is of experiencing dehydration. Dehydration in mild or severe stages can lead to:

  • Digestion problems, such as constipation
  • Kidney problems: If the kidneys economize on water, producing a more concentrated urine, it can cause damage to the kidneys
  • Increase of the body temperature by physical activities and exercising, which may lead to the reduction of physical performance. 
  • Reduction of cooling capacity of the body, which leads to overheating and diseases, including dementia in the case of elderly
  • Disruptions in mood and cognitive functioning, even in mild levels of dehydration
  • Mental confusion and delirium, especially in the case of elderly
  • The development of headache

Which foods contain water?

All foods contain some amount of water, except oil. However, the food items that are good sources of water and contain the highest amounts of water are (1):

  • Foods containing 90–99% water: Fat-free milk, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, pickles, squash (cooked) 
  • Foods containing 80–89%  water: Fruit juice, yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, broccoli (cooked), pears, pineapple.

What is the effect of eating water in the solid state?

The effect of eating water in the solid state is the effect expected as if you ingest cold water. Water in the solid state is crystalized water and crystallization of water happens at temperatures below 0°C (2).

Ice cream contains 60–69% water in its composition in the form of ice crystals. In order to be digested and absorbed in the intestines, the ice crystals must be first melted and warmed up by the body. As a consequence, the body temperature is reduced (1).

Scientific findings report that the ingestion of ice water can reduce the heart rate of healthy individuals. Although the mechanism of cardiovagal activation after ice water ingestion is not clear at present, esophageal and cardiac stimulation by cold temperature water might be one of the main factors responsible for the reduced heart rate (4).

The ingestion of ice water ingestion can enhance the vagal modulation. High levels of cardiac vagal modulation are associated with better cardiovascular health and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other FAQs about Water that you may be interested in.

Can opened bottled water go bad?

Can you boil ocean water and drink it?

How long does it take to pass a glass of water?

How long does it take to pass a pint of water?

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat water?” and we discussed what foods are a good source of water.

Reference

  1. Popkin, Barry M., Kristen E. D’Anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg. Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition rev, 2010, 68, 439-458.
  2. Cook, K. L. K., and R. W. Hartel. Mechanisms of ice crystallization in ice cream production. Comprehen rev food sci food safe, 2010, 9, 213-222.
  3. Gandy, Joan. Water intake: validity of population assessment and recommendations. Euro j nutr, 2015, 54, 11-16.
  4. Chiang, Chen-Te, et al. The effect of ice water ingestion on autonomic modulation in healthy subjects. Clin Auton Res, 2010, 20, 375-380.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!