Here’s a bizarre fact: eating cold food is not very good for you. It’s baffling when we think about how good it feels to drink ice water or enjoy an ice cream cone on a warm day. But, as we think back to the evolution of humans, we can see that cold food has only very recently been a thing. As it turns out, our bodies did not evolve to handle chilled nourishment very well.
Need more evidence? We have collected five of the most surprising dangers of eating cold food.
1. Digestive Distress
The process of digestion works most smoothly when food is at body temperature, somewhere around 100 degrees. When you eat or drink something cold, the body must pull energy from other systems in order to quickly warm it up for digestion. This is why cold food might make you feel fatigued, mentally foggy, or physically stiff.
Cold food may also contribute to incomplete digestion in the stomach, which causes digestive distress down the line and may result in bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Blood vessels in the stomach contract when they come into contact with cold food, slowing down blood flow and weakening the muscle response that moves food around the stomach.
Because digestion relies on digestive enzymes in the stomach, if food isn’t moved around enough, it won’t be thoroughly surrounded by these enzymes and thus leave the stomach partially undigested.