Iced drinks for sale on Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia on February 24, 2016, as weather forecasters predicted a heatwave ( AFP / Peter Parks)

Health experts rubbish 'iced water makes you fat' warning

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Facebook and Twitter posts have long warned that drinking iced water can increase fat in the stomach. The claim is false; health experts said there was no connection between drinking iced water and fat formation. 

"The more iced water you consume, the more fat will be stored in your stomach," reads an Indonesian-language Facebook post from February 15, 2017.

"Iced water can make your belly big because fat is needed to warm up the iced water during the digestive process," it says.

"The more you consume iced water, the more fat is needed to make the iced water warm. More fat will be accumulated inside the stomach."

The post has been shared more than 80 times. 

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on September 26, 2021

Similar claims were also shared here and here on Facebook, and here on Twitter.

However, the claim is false.

Prof Dr Ari Fahrial Syam, an internist and the dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Indonesia, said the advice was a hoax.

"There is no connection between drinking iced water and fat formation," he told AFP.

"Fat is accumulated due to lack of exercise," he said, because "calorie intake is more than calories spent."

Dr RA Adaninggar, an internist at Adi Husada Undaan Wetan Hospital in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, also said that drinking iced water did not cause weight gain.

"The stomach becomes big because of the accumulation of energy reserves in the form of fat under the skin of the abdomen," she told AFP.

"If the energy used is smaller than the incoming energy, excess energy reserves will be formed, which can come from excessive fat and carbohydrates that are not proportional to their use."

Various Indonesian doctors also rejected the advice in medical blog posts here and here

AFP has previously debunked baseless health advice, including that drinking cold water harms organ functions and that drinking cold water after a meal causes cancer.

October 12, 2021 This report has been updated to add an academic title to one of the health experts.