Does drinking cold water make me hotter?
February 18, 2007 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Does drinking cold water on a hot day warm me in the long run?

It's terribly hot in Melbourne (Australia), and I'm drinking plenty of ice water. However, I started wondering something that I've thought about on previous hot days.

If I drink cold water, it should reduce my core temperature a bit as the water cools my stomach. But - does my body respond by cranking up my internal thermostat?

Once the water has hit body temperature, has the increase in thermal mass made it harder for my body to lose heat and cool down?

Apart from the temporary relief and pleasure of drinking cold water, could I actually be making myself generally warmer? If I drank room temperature water would I be more comfortable in general? (Yes, I know I can do this experiment myself!).
posted by tomble to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I just read this last week which tells how much energy you use to heat up the water. I think cold water feels better in the heat and your body is more concerned with cooling, so it would help keep you cool rather than heat you up.
posted by lee at 1:07 PM on February 18, 2007

Previously: Does drinking cold water really burn calories?
posted by dmd at 1:35 PM on February 18, 2007

"But - does my body respond by cranking up my internal thermostat?"

No, because it has already kicked in any number of systems to try to cool down (sweating etc).
posted by pompomtom at 3:03 PM on February 18, 2007

tangent: have you tried using water on your outsides? use a spray bottle with water (any temp) and maybe a teeny drop of essential oil. don't spray your body, though, spray *the air above you* and feel the cool mist rain down. to make it even better, do this while standing in the breeze from a fan. it's a lifesaver during stinkin hot summers.
posted by twistofrhyme at 3:43 PM on February 18, 2007

As another data point, consider that the human body is about 62% water by weight, and the adult stomach can hold about 1L at most. For a 68kg person, that amounts to about 42L of water in the body. So even if you chugged cold water until you were about to vomit, the ratio of cold water to 37°C water would be around 42:1, and so the overall change in temperature would be very small. And that's ignoring the thermal mass of the other 38% of the body, which would make the change even slighter.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:53 PM on February 18, 2007

One hot summer night, back when I was a line cook, I convinced the waitresses that the best way to cool down was to drink coffee, using the exact argument presented by tomble. Even the same vocab - I used the phrase "core temperature" with no idea that it's a real term.
posted by qldaddy at 4:15 PM on February 18, 2007

and then there's this, previously. I tried looking up information about this question but sadly turned up with no credible sources.
Here's another "I heard that..." for you though, I heard that drinking water quickly (whatever the temperature) sends a signal to your body (somehow) to absorb the water quicker. As if it were a switch.

I've always heard of people drinking hot tea on hot days to stablize internal and external temps to keep you from feeling hot. But I can't say if that's true or not.
posted by apfel at 4:36 PM on February 18, 2007

I don't think that it matters too much either way - what's important is that you're drinking enough water.
posted by drstein at 10:01 PM on February 18, 2007

Drinking something hot warms you, so common sense suggests that drinking something cold will cool you.
posted by theora55 at 8:05 AM on February 19, 2007

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