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This blog is to store what I consider to be important - or weird - stories about health and science. To read these, you will need the Adobe Reader; you may download it at: Be sure to check out my political blog at: Welcome to my friends from LeftWingRadicals!

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Claim: Never Swim After Eating - New York Times

Well, it turns out that it is only about 99% hooey, although it's hard to say how much of that 1% is related to eating before swimming.


TEllenberg said...

People in Italy (and maybe other European countries) truly believe that you can DIE if you swim after eating....and not from having a cramp and drowning but from something called "congestione" a type of "blockage" in your intestines while you are trying to digest and that you go unconscious and and die! I have doctor friends in Italy who would not let their children swim for 2 to 3 hours after eating a sandwich! I told them that I've been swimming and eating my whole life...but they insist that you read about people dropping dead all the time in Italy from swimming after eating! I am SOOOOOOO glsd to finally see someone blow that old wives' tale out of the water! Now if the Italians would just believe it!!

llll0925 said...

Although the association between sudden death and swimming after eating may be very remote, it is unhealthy to have any kind of vigorous exercise after eating. After eating, the blood flow of intestinal tract always increase to meet the requirement of digestion. Stealing blood from the intestinal tract to the muscle is not a good thing.

tellenberg said...

I agree with llll0925's comment, but the problem the Italians have with it is not vigorous exercise, but with the temperature of the water being colder that the body's temperature. They also believe that drinking ice cold drinks is just as dangerous! Literally that you could die!(How do they explain eating all that gelato!) That's why they don't put any ice in drinks at resturants, etc. They swear that people have died from these things! I have personally seen grown men in Italy not let an ocean wave touch their foot because there was "still ten minutes to go" and I have been told by store owners in Italy, when buying a Coke, to "be's VERY cold!"