We all seem to know someone who sings the praises of drinking ice cold water. It boosts their metabolism and helps burn calories, they say. We also all probably know someone who strictly sticks to drinking room temperature water, claiming it keeps their digestion on track. The debate between cold water and room temperature water can be polarizing.
The Great Debate: Cold vs. Room Temperature Water
We decided to try and find the answer, once and for all. Which one is better, ice cold or room temperature water? Turns out, it depends. The climate, what you’re doing while drinking, and even your stance on eastern vs. western medicine can all impact the optimal temperature of your drinking water. Ultimately, the answer has less to do with water temperature and more to do with personal preference. Without a doubt, the best temperature water to drink is whatever water you’ll drink most frequently.
Let us explain.
Drinking Cold Water
Die-hard cold water fans will tell you that ice water is the way to go when trying to lose weight. While it’s true that drinking cold water burns more calories, the benefit equates to around eight calories per eight-ounce glass. Do the math and you’ll see that for someone who follows the eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day rule, that’s a mere 64 calories daily. Sure, when you’re trying to lose weight every calorie matters. But drinking ice cold water is probably not enough of a calorie burner to significantly impact weight loss goals.
There is research that supports the idea of drinking cold water during exercise. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition compared the use of cold and room temperature water during different workouts. The study concluded that drinking cold water while exercising can help keep your core body temperature lower for longer, which in turn can help you work out longer. Additionally, drinking cold water feels more refreshing than drinking room temperature water, which naturally leads you to drink more while you’re exercising or in a hot climate. Therefore, it can be beneficial to drink cold water while working out.
Drinking Room Temperature Water
The arguments for drinking room temperature water are varied. Proponents of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine advocate for drinking room temperature water as an important digestive aid. It’s difficult to find research showing that cold water can impede digestion or vice versa, but it’s easy to understand anecdotally how warm water or even hot beverages like tea can soothe GI distress.
Additionally, many medical practitioners recommend drinking warm or hot water when sick. Cold water seems to aggravate the formation of mucous, whereas warm or hot drinks can help open up your sinuses and alleviate discomfort.
Certain individuals may also find that drinking room temperature water is preferable to drinking cold water. This study shows a link between drinking cold water and developing headaches, specifically for women with a history of recent migraines. If you have sensitive teeth you probably also want to avoid drinking ice cold beverages, simply because doing so is painful.
As for the rate of gastric emptying (a fancy way of referring to the process in which fluids are absorbed into the body), the temperature of the water you drink seems negligible. You’ll find plenty of people willing to debate this point, but the fact is that cold water is warmed in the stomach within about five minutes. This means that whatever the original temperature of the water you drink, it’s quickly equalized inside of you.
What Temperature Water Should I Drink?
As you can see, there are various reasons why drinking cold water or drinking room temperature water may be beneficial to certain people at certain times. But overall, it probably doesn’t much matter. What does matter is that you drink plenty of water, period. Staying hydrated is critical for all of our bodily functions and is a core tenant of good health. Whichever water temperature you like is the one that’s best for you—precisely because you’re likely to drink more.
A sure way to remember to drink more fluids throughout each day is to keep a dedicated water bottle by your side. Choose a bottle from our new hydration collection to stay on top of your hydration needs—whether you choose to drink your water at room temperature or on ice.