In our day-to-day life, we drink water essentially for survival and ice for various purposes. Water is also used for cooking and other daily activities, whereas ice is added to make drinks cold, for preserving things, and for many other purposes. While water is the preliminary source of fluid for our bodies, some people eat ice cubes or chew on ice for various reasons. Whether it serves them any purpose? Is eating ice the same as drinking water or not? shall analyze and find out.
Eating Ice vs Drinking Water
While ice is just frozen water, eating ice differs in many ways from drinking water. However, there are many reasons behind it. Let us start from the basics.
What is Water
As we know, water can take three forms. Liquid form as in water, Solid form as in Ice, and gaseous form as in water vapor. The oceans hold most of the water content of the earth, which is around 97%. The remaining percentage is present in rivers, ice, and glaciers.
What is Ice
Ice is the solid form of water. When the water reaches 0 degrees Celsius, it freezes into ice. Frozen water/Ice can be seen naturally in places where the weather is cold, and the temperature is equal to or lesser than 0 degrees Celsius.
Drinking Water and Its Benefits
Every living being on the earth needs to drink water for survival. It lays the foundation for the body’s basic functioning, including metabolism, running the vital organs, and overall good health.
The Main Benefits are:
- Quenching Thirst and providing energy
- Helps prevent dehydration
- Maintain the fluid levels in the body
- Helps protect the joints and tissues
- Eliminates waste products such as sweat and urine
- Helps in the production of saliva, mucus, and important hormones
- Improves skin health
- Provides energy, helps in weight loss
- Relieves headaches and prevents constipation
- Maintains optimal body temperature
Hot Water or Cold Water
You can consume warm water or have it cold. However, their benefits differ.
Warm water increases blood circulation and clears congestion, aids digestion, and also in weight loss.
Drinking cold water after workout sessions, which increases body heat, or on hot weather or hot day helps to bring down the body temperature.
Is Eating Ice Bad
Although ice has the same benefits for dehydration as water, many factors make it not ideal to consume and it does not equal drinking water. Chewing ice cubes is not considered a major issue when done occasionally and not making it a habit or obsession. One can chew ice cubes for temporary rehydration of the body. Apart from that, sucking ice cubes doesn’t provide any benefits. It may lead to rather many health deteriorations.
Craving non-food items like dirt, paint chips, or which do not have any nutritional value like ice, is a medical condition called Pica. It is seen as an eating disorder and also as a psychological issue.
Eating Ice, a Rare Form of Pica-Pagophagia
The medical term for the compulsion to eat ice is Pagophagia. A person is said to have Pagophagia when they have an uncontrolled urge to eat or for chewing ice. Not only it is a mental issue, but it also poses many health risks.
What Eating Ice Does to the Body
Eating ice is not good for the body in so many ways. It leads to so many undesired effects. We need to see what causes one to crave Ice. People with the following conditions are at high risk of developing pagophagia.
Iron deficiency Anemia
In the bodies of people with anemia, the number of red blood cells is low. As a result, the count of hemoglobin is also low. This can be due to iron deficiency. Studies have shown people crave ice when they are anemic.
Besides above said, people with autism or other mental abnormalities can exhibit this symptom.
As a coping mechanism to stress, people can start eating ice, which runs the risk of becoming a long-term issue, Pagophagia.
People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder get many compulsive thoughts and uncontrolled urges to do certain things. One of them could be sucking on ice. Especially, this could become an obsession.
Menstruation and Pregnancy
Menstruating women and Pregnant women tend to feel compelled to eat ice. It tends to subside once the phase passes.
When Sucking of Ice is Considered Normal or Abnormal
In general, it is not a big deal if you chew on an ice cube or two. If one cannot stop it, or if it prolongs beyond a duration of a month, it is best to seek medical attention.
Chewing ice cube has some hydration benefits. But it also helps when a person has a dry mouth. In Fact, it moisturizes and helps the dry mouth.
How Eating Ice Affects the Health
Eating ice or chewing it leads to many problems. We will see how below in detail:
Prolonged ice-sucking can lead to
- The soft tissue of the mouth gets damaged
- Weakening of gums
- Increases cavities
- Damage of teeth and tooth enamel
Since people crave eating ice when they have iron deficiencies. Which means they have a lower count of red blood cells. However, if untreated, this could lead to complications. Nonetheless, eating iron-rich foods like leafy greens will help it improve.
Moreover, if one tends to avoid or reduce food intake and prefers sucking on ice in its place, it can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies which will affect the health very badly in the long run obviously.
How to Treat Pagophagia
Pagophagia can be treated according to the underlying issue. It can be treating iron deficiency anemia or therapies to address OCD issues to medication for stress and anxiety and any eating disorder.
In this article, we have seen all about chewing ice, its causes, and associated risks. It can cause health problems if ignored. Nevertheless, one should find and fix the underlying cause to get out of the problem causing it.[amazon_auto_links id="280559"]