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How to get your eating posture right

How to get your eating posture right

Maintaining the right posture while eating helps in digestion, optimises swallowing and prevents reflux

Your eating posture has a bearing on many things including digestion and the ability to swallow food effectively

The eating habits along with where and how one consumes food have changed drastically over the past few years. Habits such as watching a movie on an over-the-top (OTT) platform while lying cosy on one’s bed is common. It is a comfort space for many and after a busy day, it is natural to stretch and relax while having dinner. However, lying down is not a natural, and more importantly, the right eating posture, which could ring in issues.

“Eating posture does matter,” says Dr Anurag Shetty, consultant medical gastroenterologist, KMC Hospital, Mangaluru, India. “Posture affects the ability and speed at which we digest our food. It is also known to influence your ability to swallow food.”

Eating food while lying down is the worst possible posture for eating, say experts. It is a choking hazard to start with. It also has a bearing on digestion. “Eating while lying down is known to slow the digestion and increase the risk of reflux of stomach contents back into the food pipe,” adds Dr Shetty.


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“Not sitting the right way while eating leads to indigestion, which in turn leads to stomach and back pain. Moreover, the nutrients which get absorbed in the body decreases,” says Dr Samir Nanavati, a joint replacement and reconstructive surgeon at Zydus Hospital, Ahmedabad, India.

Ideal eating posture

The ideal eating posture is while being seated. It optimises swallowing, protects against reflux and maintains an optimal digestion speed.

“Eating in a sitting position prevents very fast or slow digestion and reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus [tube that carries food and liquid from throat to stomach]. Sitting in correct posture also protects one from developing musculoskeletal pain,” says Dr Shetty.

There is an ideal eating posture while sitting as well – sitting on a chair with the food placed on a table or eating while being seated on the ground.

Experts say sitting upright in a chair with the hips and knees at the same level and feet resting on the floor helps in aligning the axis of the mouth, tongue and food pipe. This helps in swallowing efficiently.

Eating posture while sitting on the floor

If one is eating seated on the floor, it is ideal to adopt the sukhasana pose (sitting cross-legged with a straight back and neck).

“There is one limitation to sitting on the ground – while getting up, the bodyweight falls on the lower limbs and joints which can impact those with knee problems,” says Dr Nanavati. “It will make them prone to injuries. Those with knee pain can sit at their dining table.”

Eating while standing is known to speed up the digestion process because of the rapid emptying of the stomach aided by gravity. This can cause overeating and lead to bloating or cramps in the stomach because of rapid movement of food.

“Standing and eating can lead to weight gain because of overeating and hastened digestion of food contents,” says Dr Shetty. “However, eating in a standing position can reduce the reflux episodes.”

Distractions should be avoided. “One should avoid reading papers, talking, screen time, etc. while eating,” says Dr Shetty. “This prevents us from overeating and helps in creating an ideal milieu for digestion of food.”


  • Maintaining the right eating posture prevents very fast or slow digestion and reflux of stomach contents.
  • If proper posture is not maintained, cramps and spasms can occur in the body or limbs due to the strain on the muscles and ligaments.

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