View Full Version : Showering after eating is bad; myth?


pesgores
Apr 07, 2012, 04:27 PM
So my mom told me dinner was about to be served and that I should go take my shower (like she always does). Since it's Spring break time, I told her "no, tonight I'm going to shower right before I go to bed" and she called me crazy and said it is harmful because of... reasons. Basicly, that's her source of reasoning: old wives' tales.

And I, being anti-secular knowledge, became curious. I decided to search online for personal experiences and opinions, but since it's the Internet, I don't know wether I could trust those who said they have always taken showers whenever they wanted (before and immediately after eating) and never felt anything related to the "known" symptoms (stomach ache, digestion complications, etc). Then, there are the others who resort to the explanation that the skin contact with water diverts the blood that would be used for the digestion process and that is harmful to your health.

Who is right? What is wrong and what makes no difference? Is there anyone who can confirm personally that it's a myth ("people I knew" statements are to be ignored, since that's how some myths propagate, we should avoid "implied" knowledge)? Or, on the other hand, people that have felt in person the dangers of showering right after eating?

BvBPL
Apr 07, 2012, 04:41 PM
A hot shower will cause increased blood to flow to your epidermis as a means to control the heat against your body. After eating, you want your blood to flow to your stomach and digestive tract. Taking a hot shower can reduce the bloody flow to your digestive tract, thereby causing discomfort.

pesgores
Apr 07, 2012, 05:42 PM
Discomfort? That's it?

BvBPL
Apr 07, 2012, 05:49 PM
Depends on a variety of factors. If you're young, healthy, and eating a moderate amount of good food then it is unlikely you'll experience any problems. If you're older, in poor health, and eating too much crummy food then you might experience additional digestive problems.

Janig
Apr 07, 2012, 05:51 PM
My skin gets bad when I shower after breakfast so I shower before breakfast. Your mum is right. Im young and my diet is wild but as BvB says everyone is unique.

Narz
Apr 07, 2012, 06:50 PM
I always shower before sleep. I always end it cold though because being cool is more conducive to sleep than being too hot (also it makes me feel like a man).

pesgores
Apr 07, 2012, 06:51 PM
The thing is, she goes hysterical if I say that I will see if anything happens because, according to her, it can kill.

Narz
Apr 07, 2012, 08:16 PM
I'm just glad I don't live with my mom anymore!

Quintillus
Apr 08, 2012, 12:53 AM
Well, good news, I've showered both after breakfast and after dinner (and I'm sure at one point after lunch and after non-Taco-Bell fourthmeal), and it hasn't killed me a single time out of the hundreds of times. Of course, that's no guarantee that it's never killed anyone in the history of the planet, but it's not guaranteed to kill.

I would suggest easing in to an after-eating showering routing given the likelihood of hysterics. Don't insist on starting it after a feast. Work your way up. Start with something small like a grape or a raisin, then gradually work your way up to snacks, small breakfasts, and, eventually, regular meals. That way, even if it doesn't bode well for you, you'll probably see warning signs before you've tried to shower after eating a fatal amount of food.

What BvBPL is (in all seriousness) likely correct. But, from a practical standpoint, assuming you don't have a particularly weak digestive tract, I suspect you won't notice a difference at all. I can't say I've ever noticed a difference.

Defiant47
Apr 08, 2012, 10:18 AM
Why does blood need to go to your digestive system? Your stomach churns the food for 5 hours, and then it sets it along the small intestines. The small intestines decompose the food in bits that are useful for your body (for various purposes) and your blood takes those along.

Taking a shower should be helpful for digestion. Maintaining your body temperature uses up energy. If you keep a curtain of warm water over yourself means that your body doesn't need to produce heat as much, and that energy can be diverted to something like stomach-churning.

It's the reason why it's so enjoyable to have a warm shower or stand right behind a fireplace. Your body is getting warmed up without your metabolism working so hard at it - so it's going to want more of that.

Defiant47
Apr 08, 2012, 10:23 AM
Now that I think about it, the only reason why showering after eating could be bad is because you're standing up and doing vigorous action in cleaning yourself. Ideally after eating, you should have a "siesta" and just take a small nap.

But who has time for those, amirite?

Janig
Apr 08, 2012, 12:14 PM
I figure the hot humid atmosphere of a shower is bad after eating because it will spread food particles through ones throat into open pores; I hadnt really thought of that before thanks pesgores.

Zelig
Apr 08, 2012, 12:29 PM
There's really nothing that you can't do after eating. In terms of vigorous exercise, you probably want to time carbs an appropriate amount of time beforehand, but it's still mostly a matter of comfort.

Maintaining your body temperature uses up energy.

To a point, there's also quite a bit of waste heat. I assume once you start to sweat, it means your body is no longer using extra energy for heating.

Glassfan
Apr 08, 2012, 02:54 PM
Digestion requires energy - it's why you shouldn't go swimming after eating - a cramp or feint in the water can kill. But standing in the shower is harmless.

An invigorating shower should be taken at the beginning of your day - to wake you up - unless you're really dirty or sweaty or getting lucky.

Zelig
Apr 08, 2012, 04:35 PM
Digestion requires energy - it's why you shouldn't go swimming after eating - a cramp or feint in the water can kill.

Complete myth. (http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/hourwait.asp)

Glassfan
Apr 08, 2012, 04:55 PM
It's not a myth. My information comes from Brain Stuff on the HowStuffWorks podcast. Digestion requires energy, and if you engage in vigorous exercise after eating you are making double energy demands on your body. If you're on land and get a cramp or feel faint, you can just sit down and recover. But if you are swimming in water over your head, you can drown.

Mothers are right in being prudent with their children's lives. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission points out that drowning in family pools is second only to traffic accidents as a source of death for small children.

As for the thread, showering after dinner is no danger.

Zelig
Apr 08, 2012, 05:14 PM
It's not a myth. My information comes from Brain Stuff on the HowStuffWorks podcast.

Do you have a linkable source?

Glassfan
Apr 08, 2012, 05:23 PM
No, like I said, it was a podcast with Marshall Brain on HowStuffWorks.

Narz
Apr 08, 2012, 07:25 PM
Ideally after eating, you should have a "siesta" and just take a small nap.
Lying down after eating a decent sized meal isn't really ideal.

But regardless, sounds like pesgores' mom needs something better to worry about.

Tycho
Apr 08, 2012, 08:48 PM
The thing is, she goes hysterical if I say that I will see if anything happens because, according to her, it can kill.

In that case, I needs to call an ambulance soon.

madviking
Apr 08, 2012, 10:56 PM
I'm a big fan of the eat/shower/sleep for three, four hours way of living.

Zelig
Apr 09, 2012, 12:28 AM
No, like I said, it was a podcast with Marshall Brain on HowStuffWorks.

Well, Snopes is generally very reliable, I think I'll go with that over a podcast that can't be linked.

Synsensa
Apr 09, 2012, 06:03 AM
Digestion requires energy - it's why you shouldn't go swimming after eating - a cramp or feint in the water can kill. But standing in the shower is harmless.

I think the biggest problem with swimming after eating is discomfort because of the physical exertion you are producing. But kill? No way. Maybe if you don't know how to swim but why would you be that far out into deep water if you can't swim?

Yeekim
Apr 09, 2012, 08:55 AM
The thing is, she goes hysterical if I say that I will see if anything happens because, according to her, it can kill.
That is, quite simply, a huge nonsense.

luiz
Apr 09, 2012, 10:52 AM
In Brazil we joke about Portuguese mothers that give their kids hot water to drink before sleep to keep them warm during the night, and all other kinds of nonsense. Apparently there's some truth to the jokes :eek:

warpus
Apr 09, 2012, 02:49 PM
I've never heard of "don't shower after you've eaten".

I have heard of "don't swim after you've eaten" and that was debunked as nothing more than an old wive's tale.

Sounds to me like that Korean superstition that you'll die if you sleep with a turned on fan in your bedroom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death).

classical_hero
Apr 10, 2012, 02:33 AM
Well you can get a cramp if you swim after eating, since i got one after going in a pool straight after eating some dinner, but other than that there was no problem. I have showered many times after eating since normally the water is warm rather than cold as in pool, which most probably was the cause of the cramp due to the need to warm up my body while doing other things.

warpus
Apr 10, 2012, 08:40 AM
Well you can get a cramp if you swim after eating, since i got one after going in a pool straight after eating some dinner, but other than that there was no problem. I have showered many times after eating since normally the water is warm rather than cold as in pool, which most probably was the cause of the cramp due to the need to warm up my body while doing other things.

About cramps (http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/hourwait.asp)

Hehehe
Apr 10, 2012, 10:52 AM
So my mom told me dinner was about to be served and that I should go take my shower (like she always does). Since it's Spring break time, I told her "no, tonight I'm going to shower right before I go to bed" and she called me crazy and said it is harmful because of... reasons. Basicly, that's her source of reasoning: old wives' tales.


Digestion requires energy - it's why you shouldn't go swimming after eating - a cramp or feint in the water can kill. But standing in the shower is harmless.


Those two claims are the silliest things I've heard in quite some time. And on this very forum, no less.

When I was a kid, I used to swim right after a meal a lot. And I also took showers after meals, and saw no ill effects. But then again, these things work like all superstitions: they only "work" if you believe in them.

pesgores
Apr 10, 2012, 01:50 PM
I could do it if I wanted but my mom has high blood pressure so it's hard to pull one of these "irreverent attitudes" off without her getting too worried.

I guess it'll have to be a shock "getting in water after eating" instead of preparing by telling her that I am going to do it after dinner.

In Brazil we joke about Portuguese mothers that give their kids hot water to drink before sleep to keep them warm during the night, and all other kinds of nonsense. Apparently there's some truth to the jokes :eek:

Our jokes about the Brazillian aren't nearly as nice.

warpus
Apr 10, 2012, 03:40 PM
@pesgores is this really something that has a strong cultural "following" in Portugal? Meaning that a lot of people think it's true, much like the fan death thing in Korea?

classical_hero
Apr 10, 2012, 04:47 PM
About cramps (http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/hourwait.asp)

From personal experience I got a cramp directly after eating my dinner, but I did not drown. I never said you will drown if you get a cramp.

Zelig
Apr 10, 2012, 05:01 PM
From personal experience I got a cramp directly after eating my dinner, but I did not drown. I never said you will drown if you get a cramp.

You could get a cramp just as easily if you hadn't eaten; eating has nothing to do with it.

pesgores
Apr 10, 2012, 05:09 PM
@pesgores is this really something that has a strong cultural "following" in Portugal? Meaning that a lot of people think it's true, much like the fan death thing in Korea?

Yes it is. If not the showering part, the swimming definitely. And what's worse, here it is "thought" that the minimum wait after finishing eating is 3 hours and in case of heavy foods, 4 hours.

It's a torture for Portuguese kids at the beach.

innonimatu
Apr 10, 2012, 05:19 PM
@pesgores is this really something that has a strong cultural "following" in Portugal? Meaning that a lot of people think it's true, much like the fan death thing in Korea?

I can immediately think of three weird, false, but widely spread beliefs: "don't get into the water after eating"; "don't eat watermelon with wine"; don't eat oranges before bedtime". I don't know how widely spread, but I once got into a serious argument with several people, during a lunch, over the watermelon+wine one. So serious that I even think they were disappointing when I failed to drop dead after doing it. :lol:

Some of these, it seems, can also be found in Brazil.

luiz
Apr 10, 2012, 05:31 PM
In Brazil the most popular ones are: don't mix mangoes with milk, and don't eat hot cake. But nowadays they're more restricted to the countryside. My grandma (who is Italian born but raised in Brazil) actually believes in that hot cake nonsense.

pesgores
Apr 10, 2012, 06:30 PM
In Brazil the most popular ones are: don't mix mangoes with milk

Zé Carioca taught me that one :D

Nanocyborgasm
Apr 10, 2012, 07:21 PM
There are no ill effects from showering before, after, or even during dinner, although in the last case, your food will be quite soggy.

warpus
Apr 11, 2012, 09:20 AM
In Brazil the most popular ones are: don't mix mangoes with milk, and don't eat hot cake. But nowadays they're more restricted to the countryside. My grandma (who is Italian born but raised in Brazil) actually believes in that hot cake nonsense.

We have a "don't eat hot bread after it's been baked, wait until it cools" thing in Poland; I have no idea if there's any truth to that or if that's another silly thing that everyone believes that is false.

luiz
Apr 11, 2012, 06:31 PM
If it wasn't 100% false I'd be dead by now.

pob
Apr 12, 2012, 01:05 AM
You should shower after sleeping as that is after any little worms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pin_worm) in you will have gone out for their daily breath of fresh air and laid their eggs.

Exercise can aid digestion, so I agree with any one else who has said the no swimming after eating thing is a myth. If you haven't got enough blood flow to effectively digest food and do something else, you've got a much bigger problem than just stomach cramps.

Yeekim
Apr 12, 2012, 12:35 PM
We have a "don't eat hot bread after it's been baked, wait until it cools" thing in Poland; I have no idea if there's any truth to that or if that's another silly thing that everyone believes that is false.
?!?!
Bread hot from the oven is delicious! It is a crime to deliberately let is cool!
You made me cry reading this!

Defiant47
Apr 13, 2012, 06:13 AM
?!?!
Bread hot from the oven is delicious! It is a crime to deliberately let is cool!
You made me cry reading this!

You made me laugh reading this :D

'Tis true!

Akka
Apr 13, 2012, 08:15 AM
I routinely shower just before or just after eating, and not only it doesn't kill me, not only it doesn't make me sick, but I don't even notice anything.

You mother is just nut.