The human body may continue to function more or less normally without food for several weeks, but when it is deprived of water or when the intake is scant, definite disturbances in some functions appear early. Water serves at least three important purposes in the body: it is an excellent food solvent; it is indispensable as a vehicle to carry off wastes; and it is intimately involved in the regulation of body temperature.
A FOOD SOLVENT
Many foods are naturally soluble in water, and those which are not are rendered so in the process of digestion. The chemical changes in digestion are frequently the result of water combining with some of the simple food substances. For their proper absorption all foods require an adequate amount of water to keep them in solution. The amount of liquid that should be taken with meals has been a debatable subject, some advising as little as possible, and others a considerable amount. All agree that food should be well masticated, and not merely washed down. With heavy and elaborate meals, a more liberal fluid intake appears to be an aid in accomplishing their digestion and absorption. Ice cold drinks delay digestion until they are warmed to body temperature.