DID YOU KNOW?
- On average, water makes up around 60% of total body mass in adult males and between 50-55% in females1
- Water is involved in practically all functions of the human body¹
- Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions and to the maintenance of normal regulation of body temperature2
HOW MUCH FLUID SHOULD WE HAVE?
To help us understand how much fluids we should be consuming, in 2010 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set the following recommendations1:
|Boys and girls aged 2 - 3 years:
||1.3 litres per day
|Boys and girls aged 4 - 8 years:
||1.6 litres per day
|Girls aged 9 - 13 years:
||1.9 litres per day
|Boys aged 9 - 13 years:
||2.1 litres per day
||2 litres per day
||700ml per day in addition to the 2 litres per day
||2.5 litres per day
WHAT COUNTS TOWARDS FLUID INTAKES?
Although it’s a great option, it’s not only plain water that contributes towards recommended intakes - water from all sources counts too, with the exception of alcohol!
This includes water from beverages of all kinds such as milk, fruit juices, soft drinks, tea and coffee, and from the moisture content of food. Examples of foods which can contribute largely to fluid intakes include foods such as fruits, vegetables, yoghurts and soups.
In fact, on average around 70-80% of our fluid intakes comes from beverages and the remaining 20-30% from food sources.
The recommendations from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) above are based on water intakes from all sources.
1 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 2010. Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water. EFSA Journal 2010; 8(3): 1459
2 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 2011. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to water. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). EFSA Journal 2011;9 (4):2075
what are the signs of fluid imbalance?
If the amount of fluid excreted from the body exceeds what is consumed, and this imbalance is sustained, the ability of the body and brain to function normally can be impacted.
The maintenance of fluid equilibrium is in part regulated by the kidneys and by the body's thirst mechanism.
In other words, when we haven’t consumed sufficient amounts the body will respond by either creating a greater sense of thirst or by producing less urine, or both.
The colour and quantity of urine is also a relatively good way to check if we have consumed enough fluids. In general, that which is dark in colour and small in volume may indicate that you need to increase fluid intakes.
The aim should be to produce a dilute, pale yellow colour, like in the chart below:
The target range is within zones 1 – 3. If urine falls within zone 6 - 8 you should consume more fluids.