Is what food before swimming really dangerous?

Is what food before swimming really dangerous?

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Are you really not allowed to eat before swimming?
For many people, in summer temperatures there is nothing better than spending your free time in the outdoor pool or at the lake. Children especially love cooling off in cold water. Often parents don't let them into the water. Because if you have eaten something, swimming can be dangerous, they say. But is that really true?

Can't I go straight into the water after eating?
Children who often do nothing better in summer than jump into the pool or the lake often hear from their parents: "Wait, you've just eaten something." Also in the bathing rules of the Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs Society (DLRG) says: "Never go into the water with a full or completely empty stomach." But do the little ones really have to wait when they have just given themselves chips or ice cream?

Little scientific research
Although there were studies a few decades ago that dealt with the question of the possible dangers of swimming after eating, in some cases only a dozen subjects were involved, so that the conclusions should not meet scientific standards. In a comprehensive scientific review, the American Red Cross could not find a single case in which someone drowned because of their meal before swimming.

Decreased blood flow
Then why is it warned not to eat anything before bathing? “It used to be said that swimming after eating can cause stomach cramps. However, this is not correct. Nevertheless, children should not enter the water with a full stomach, because a large part of the blood is then in the digestive tract, so that the blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body deteriorates, ”writes the professional association of pediatricians in an older one Announcement on his website "".

Stomach feels fuller
But not all experts see it that way. As reported by "Spiegel Online", Martin Halle, Senior Medical Director of the Center for Prevention and Sports Medicine at the Technical University of Munich, explained: "The body has enough blood to supply everything." He said: "The only problem is that swimming after the Eating is less fun. ”Because of the water pressure, it feels as if the stomach is still fuller than it already is. "Only when the food has slipped into the intestine is that no longer a problem."

Not necessarily harmful to health
Bernd Wolfarth, head of the department for sports medicine at the Charité Berlin, made a similar statement last year in a message from the dpa news agency. "There is no direct connection between stomach cramps and swimming," said the expert. Anyone who goes into the water after a portion of french fries has to "fear no medical consequences".

Wolfarth, however, pointed out that "the body is subjected to double stress after a meal". He is involved in the digestion of food and at the same time has to stay afloat. "Then it can of course be that you feel tired and sluggish." But the uncomfortable feeling is not necessarily harmful to health.

Ice cream is better than vegetables
The porridge usually takes between half an hour and an hour to pass through the stomach. "How quickly this works depends very much on the food," Halle explained. For example, it takes a little longer for fiber. "The higher their percentage in a food, the longer it takes for the stomach acid to break down the food," says the doctor.

Halle therefore gives the rather unusual advice: "Better not meat and no vegetables". Fruits or ice cream are better. “French fries also have little structure, but are greasy. It slows down digestion. "

If you have an empty stomach you may have hypoglycaemia
So although more current information suggests that eating before swimming does not pose a real health risk, the DLRG adheres to the food warning in its bathing rules. Why?

"There is no medical or scientific reason for this," said Achim Wiese, press spokesman for the DLRG, according to "Spiegel Online". "But we know that children in particular often swallow water when playing." In combination with a full stomach, this can lead to them feeling sick and vomiting. "Then it may be a little dangerous," said Wiese. "But that's the only reason why we left that in our rules."

However, the press spokesman emphasized that children should never go into the water with an empty stomach. "Otherwise there is a risk of low blood sugar." (Ad)

Author and source information

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