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Pordon my French, WTF? [Moved from SF Board]

While researching for an upcoming dining tour of the Bay Area I came upon this from the appetizer menu of La Provence , "While water is great when you exercise, it’s actually bad for a good digestion. We will pour it on request only."

This was news to me. A short investigation led to this from the Mayo Clinic website,
"There's no concern that water will dilute the digestive juices or interfere with digestion. In fact, drinking water during or after a meal can actually improve digestion."

Eating and drinking is just not that complicated.

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  1. The French have their own theory. Water's bad for digestion, an open window is bad for your liver.

    Restaurants often try to come up with creative explanations for the drought-inspired SF law that mandates water only on request.

    1. and there is a group of people who believe that american obesity is because we drink chilled beverages. apparently the credo is that drinking warm beverages (especially tea) raises the body temperature. since cattle have a higher body temperature (101.5), raising our temperature closer to theirs makes it easier for our bodies to metabolize beef fat. i don't know how they explain obese coffee drinkers.

      4 Replies
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        I do think a great deal of American obesity is caused by chilled beverages - not because of the temperature, but because most of them are loaded with such incredible amounts of sugar. After years of sticking to seltzer or unsweetened iced tea when I want a soft drink, I find that regular soda and bottled sweetened tea are cloyingly sweet and nearly undrinkable.

        1. re: BobB

          A chilled drink uses up calories because the body has to heat the material up to body temperature. Not a ton of calories but if it's water and not a soft drink you are net using calories.

          1. re: lergnom

            16 calories, I believe. I once briefly tried an ice water diet. It made me very cold, so I stopped.

            1. re: Glencora

              i imagine the biggest effect of a "water diet" is:

              1. you are not drinking beverages with calories
              2. if you drink a lot of water you are probably going to eat
              less food.

              the energy to heat the water is trivial ... considering a "pound
              of flesh" is something like +3000 Kcal, if memory serves.

      2. Then again, my little, tiny sister once told me "Don't drink water, you'll just retain it"

        And my grandmother won't drink iced beverages, including water, because it interferes with digestion, according to her.

        1. Well, by 'digestion', they mean 'the bill'...

          It essentially--by putting it on the menu and pointing it out--makes people feel cheap (and uncultured, ignorant, unwanted, etc) to ask for it. lame.

          1 Reply
          1. re: xanadude

            Oh, that would make me want to ask for it. A lot. In lieu of wine.

          2. As a child eating at grandmother's house we were always scolded for drinking water at the table. As I recall it was going to ruin our appetites? She was German from the "old country".

            1 Reply
            1. re: torty

              I think there's something to the appetite thing - some things I've noticed in my own household:
              - Lots of diet plans insist that you make sure you consume 8 glasses of water a day (not sure I 100% agree...) but I find when you do drink water(not necessarily all 8 glasses) you're less likely to overeat.
              - If the kids have a drink before/with their meal they're less likely to finish.
              - Also, if my dear daughter (4) is sent with anything other than water to go with her snack at JrK she'll leave the snack and polish off the juice.

            2. My dearly departed elderly Canadian mother-in-law insisted that she and my FIL not drink a drop of water during their meals. Apparently there was some old wive's tale that circulated during their youth about drinking and eating, and how it impeded good digestion and nutrition. Funny thing, I can't tell you how many times I had to run with a water glass to the table as one or the other of them choked on something that always seemed to "go down the wrong way." (Note, I said elderly. This happens quite frequently with the 85 year plus crowd). Could be the same mentality at work.

              1. I always heard that the French say "Water is for washing wine glasses."

                1 Reply
                1. re: wayne keyser

                  And of course, there's the famous W. C.Fields line: "I never drink water, fish f*** in it."

                2. growing up we were never allowed a drink before the soup course because it wasn't good for digestion.

                  1. I was told (in a college-level nutrition course) that water (well, liquids) slows digestion and that we should drink minimal amounts during a meal. My mother was raised with the same notion, so growing up, we all learned to not drink much during a meal.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Ali

                      Using that reasoning, the French (or the rest of us) shouldn't be drinking wine with dinner. And we all know THAT isn't going to happen. :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Actually, my guess would be that the French would probably say that wine would help digestion because of the acidic nature would help break down the food. Good excuse to drink more wine. : )

                      2. re: Ali

                        A while back, I was on the Sugarbusters diet and it was very specific as to not drinking anything with your meal. It would slow the digestive process. I stuck to the diet religiously for three months and dropped 30 pounds. Now I have some water a little after the meal, but not much. Of course, I drink wine with my meal (not every night) and I've managed to keep the weight off, so who knows.

                      3. I wonder if they exclude wine from the menu. It can slow the metabolism. Cheese can block the intestines. Are certain veggies off limits unless you order a fat to digest them with?

                        La Provence= La Idiots=La Patrons of La Provence

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                          Erm, they're not forbidding drinking water; they're simply saying you'll need to ask if you want it.

                        2. I drink little or no water with a meal. If I do drink it, it makes me feel uncomfortable.