Hydration

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Q

How much water do I need to drink per day ?

A

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2.0 litres of water for women per day, via food and drink consumption.  Of this, they suggest that 70-80% of the daily water intake should come from drinks, and the remaining 20-30% should come from food[1]. 

The British Nutrition Foundation gives guidelines for the types of fluid to drink, and water is the only fluid which they recommend drinking “plenty” of[2] as it contains no sugar, calories or additives. In spite of this, research shows we still don’t drink enough of it[3]. 

Q

Can you hydrate as well with sparkling water as with still water?

A

Yes, both still and sparkling water hydrate as well as each other.

Q

Do men need to drink more water than women?

A

Yes, the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific experts recommend an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2.0 litres of water for women per day, via food and drink consumption..Of this, they suggest that 70-80% of the daily water intake should come from drinks, and the remaining 20-30% should come from food[1].

The British Nutrition Foundation gives guidelines for the types of fluid to drink, and water is the only fluid which they recommend drinking “plenty” of[2] as it contains no sugar or calories. In spite of this, research shows we still don’t drink enough of it[3].

Q

How can you tell if you are dehydrated?

A

Your body has special mechanisms to make sure you stay hydrated. Feeling thirsty is one of your body’s way of telling you that you need to drink more. Another indicator that we are adequately hydrated is urine colour. As a general rule of thumb,if you are healthy and well-hydrated the urine will tend to be straw-coloured, and becomes progressively darker the more dehydrated we become. Once it becomes honey-coloured this a sign that not enough water has been drunk. Urine that is dark brown in colour can indicate severe dehydration.

Please note,certain medications and foods, such as beetroot, may change the colour of your urine. Mild dehydration may occur when we lose about 1 per cent of our body weight due to water restriction. Some common symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration are given below [4] :

  • Constipation
  • Dark yellow or brown urine
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Headache
  • Increased thirst
  • Muscle tiredness
  • Sleepiness or tiredness – children may be less active than usual.

Research shows that losses of 2% or more can reduce cognitive (mental) performance [5]. Note: If urine colour remains dark after increasing water intakes, medical advice should always be sought

Q

Is dehydration more common in summer?

A

We are at the greatest risk of dehydration when we are too hot or too dry, have limited access to water, or need more water than usual. Warm or dry environments, such as centrally heated homes, tend to increase our need for fluid. We can lose more fluid through sweating (due to exercise or hot climates), or by suffering vomiting and diarrhoea.

Q

How does water make up our body weight ?

A

Water makes up to 60% of an adult’s and performs crucial roles such as carrying nutrients and waste products between our major organs, helping to regulate body temperature, lubricating our joints and acting as a shock absorber[6].

References provided by Natural Hydration Council UK:
1 - EFSA Journal 2010; 8(3):1459, Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water.
2 - Benelam B and Wyness L (2010) Hydration and health: a review. Nutrition Bulletin Volume 35 March 2010 British Nutrition Foundation, Healthy hydration guide,2010.
3 - Kantar Worldpanel: The majority of people in the UK (59.4%) still only drink just one serving of water or less a day and 80.8 per cent drink no more than two servings of water. The statistics were produced by Kantar Worldpanel using data from Kantar Worldpanel’s Food and Drink Usage panel. 52 w/e 21 June 2015. This is a single source purchase and consumption panel comprising of 11,000 individuals recording all that they eat and drink for four one week periods every year. The figures quoted include both tap and bottled water
4 - Mayo Clinic (2015) Disease and Conditions: Dehydration. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/dehydration/basics/symptoms/con-20030056
5 - Grandjean AC & Grandjean NR (2007) Dehydration and cognitive performance. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26(5 Suppl):549S-554S
6 - Jéquier E & Constant F (2010) Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hydration. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64(2): 115-23.


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