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Why Do We Feel Thirsty After Eating An Ice Cream?

By Shreya PatroSeptember 18, 2022
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Scientific Reason Behind Feeling Thirsty After Eating an Ice Cream


Who does not love to snack on ice cream during a hot summer day? Our taste buds love this sugary treat. No matter how full our stomach is, we still find a pinch of hunger left to quench with our favourite snack. Do you feel thirsty after eating ice cream? Does this happen to everyone?

Eating ice cream can cause certain changes in the digestive functions of your system. To find out why we feel thirsty, we need to delve deeper and find out the right answer. Before that, let us learn a few things about how sugar and salt are assimilated into our digestive system.

What Happens to Sugar and Salt in our Digestive System?

Sugar in our food is reduced to simple ones with the action of amylolytic enzymes. These enzymes are secreted in the digestive tract starting from our mouth till the end of the small intestine. The prime function of these enzymes is to convert complex sugar molecules into smaller ones.

Once done our body needs water to get the simple sugar molecules or carbohydrates absorbed by the tissues in the digestive tract and send them to the blood circulation system for distribution. The same things happen to salts also. They are absorbed from different locations using water molecules. The prime reason behind releasing water into the digestive system is to dilute the concentration of sugar we eat. Salts are also absorbed in dilute format.

Why Does Ice Cream Make You Thirsty?

Now that we are aware of how sugars and salts are absorbed in our digestive system, it becomes a lot easier to find out why eating ice cream makes us thirsty. Ice creams are sugary foods we eat as snacks or desserts. This type of food preparation contains a lot of sugar.

The sweet taste is added with various taste-enhancing and sweetening agents. A scoop of ice cream is packed with sugars. In every bite, you can feel the heavenly taste. On the other hand, ice creams quickly melt and start assimilating with the enzymes present in our digestive system.

It all starts in the stomach where the sugar content of the chyme increases manifold. Water from the circulatory system and tissues adjacent to the digestive tract starts flowing in to dilute this increased sugar level. So the answer to does eating ice cream dehydrate you is yes.

Our digestive system prepares itself for the sugar burst from every bite of ice cream. This high concentration of sugar cannot be absorbed in this form by the tissues and sent to the blood circulation system. The dilution process begins when our body uses its water reserve. This is the prime reason why we feel thirsty.

What happens next? Well, our brain gives a signal to the related organs that the water level in our digestive system has reduced below the normal level. The cells that are releasing water will start replenishing the depletion level of water. They will try to bring back the normal water concentration in your blood.

It happens with a chain of actions happening simultaneously. Your brain tells you to drink water. The cells get water and rehydrate themselves. They also pass on the excess water to the blood circulation system. You will be surprised to know that the thirst feeling is controlled by the hypothalamus, a significant part of our hindbrain.

Salts in Ice Creams Can Also Make You Feel Thirsty

We have got a partial answer to why so we feel thirsty after eating ice cream. It also happens due to the intake of salts. Even though the salt content of an ice cream formula will be less than the sugar concentration, it still adds up to the thirst level.

As mentioned earlier, salts also need water to get diluted and absorbed in the system. The additives of an exquisite ice cream preparation will have salts. The removal of salts from the digestive system will need water. Our digestive system will flush in water from the adjacent tissues and blood. Hence, we will feel more thirst from eating ice cream.

Can We Drink Water After Eating Ice Cream?

It is recommended to drink water after eating ice cream. It helps to replenish the depleted level of water in our tissues and blood. Drinking water will not trigger the thirst response. It is obvious that your brain will process the thirst response later after eating ice cream, not instantly.

It means when you drink a little water after eating ice cream, you are already a step ahead of diluting the sugar and salt content. If you are still feeling thirsty after drinking water, you need to drink a little more as the previous amount was inadequate.

Eating Ice Cream Makes Us Thirsty

Eating Ice Cream Makes Us Thirsty

Can Diabetic Eat Ice Cream?

Diabetics suffer from a high level of sugar in their blood circulation system. Eating ice cream will be a mistake as they might not be able to process the higher concentration. Eating fruity ice creams may also need caution as fruit pieces contain natural sugar in them. They can eat sugar-free ice creams that contain sweetening agents.

It all depends on the type of diabetes a person is suffering from. It also depends on the blood sugar level a diabetic is tackling on that day. His/her diet before eating ice cream will also determine the same.

Stay Hydrated After Eating Ice Cream

We are now aware of the scientific reason behind the thirst after eating ice cream. Hence, we need to drink water to not feel thirsty after eating ice cream. We do feel thirst as our body signals the scarcity of water. Simply drinking water after enjoying an ice cream will not make you feel thirsty.