Hydration facts

Hydration facts

Hydration & water facts

There is a lot of confusion about hydration and how much fluid we should be drinking. When the scientific community talk about ‘water’ they are often talking about the nutrient water, which you can get from both the fluids we drink and the food we eat. This does of course include drinking water.

This page summarises the hydration facts as well as the facts around water, how much we should be drinking and why it’s important for our health.

How much water should we be drinking?

Fluid requirements are individual and a single recommended water intake that is applicable to everyone is difficult to define and can vary greatly, even on a day-to-day basis, as there are many factors that affect an individual’s need for water, such as age, gender, body mass, physical activity levels and climate. Experts recognise that a regular intake of water is necessary for maintaining water balanceJequier E & Constant F (2010) Eur J Clin: Water as an essential nutrient, and that water is a nutrient essential for life and healthJequier E & Constant F (2010) Eur J Clin: Water as an essential nutrient .

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 EFSA Journal 2010; 8(3):1459, Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water. 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. The British Nutrition Foundation gives guidelines for the types of fluid to drink, and water is the only fluid which they recommend drinking “plenty” ofBenelam B and Wyness L (2010) Hydration and health: a review. Nutrition Bulletin Volume 35 March 2010 British Nutrition Foundation, Healthy hydration guide,2010,  as it contains no sugar, calories or additives. In spite of this, research shows we still don’t drink enough of itKantar 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.


EFSA’s scientific experts stateEFSA Journal 2011: 9(4):2075,Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to water and maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions (ID 1102, 1209, 1294, 1331), maintenance of normal thermoregulation (ID 1208) and “basic requirement of all living things” (ID 1207) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No  1924/20061:

Working with leading experts in nutrition and public health, the NHC has developed a number of
fact sheets  to help provide you with advice about good hydration habits.