This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Thirst is your body’s way of telling you it needs ﬂuids. But it can’t tell you what to drink. That’s up to you. Some beverages simply satisfy your natural taste for sweetness. Some have calories. Some don’t. Some relax you. Some energize you. Some give you important nutrients. Some help you perform your best. And some can even help you manage health concerns like cholesterol. That’s why it’s so important to understand how your beverage choice affects your overall health and wellness – and make every drop count.
Have you ever wondered how all the nutrients in the foods and beverages you eat and drink get to where they need to go? The water in your body is crucial for transporting carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and other important nutrients to your cells. Your cells then produce energy to help keep you going.
Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences Total Daily Water Adequate Intake (AI) Summary
Water is essential for kidneys, helping them to remove waste, toxins and excess nutrients from the body. A well hydrated healthy person’s kidneys ﬁlter approximately 180L (190 quarts) of water each day.
Age Range Infants
0-6 months 7-12 months
Daily Water Adequate Intake
3 cups * (0.7 L), assumed to be from human milk. 3.5 cups (0.8 L), assumed to be from human milk and complementary foods and beverages. This includes ~3 cups (0.6 L) as total ﬂuid, including formula, juices and drinking water.
Good hydration helps preserve skin’s elasticity, softness and coloring. Water bathes skin cells, inside and out.
1-3 years 5.5 cups (1.3 L) total water**, including ~4 cups (0.9 L) as total beverages, including drinking water. 7.5 cups (1.7 L) total water, including ~5 cups (1.2 L) as total beverages, including drinking water.
©2006 The Coca-Cola Company. The Droplet Design and “make every drop count” are trademarks and service marks of The Coca-Cola Company.
You may already know sweat is your body’s way of cooling itself. But did you know that water helps make this possible? Your body’s water helps dissipate heat, regulating your overall body temperature. If your body becomes too hot, water is released by perspiring, thus removing heat from the body. If the water lost through sweat is not replaced, your body can become dangerously overheated.
10.5 cups (2.4 L) total water, including ~8 cups (1.8 L) as total beverages, including drinking water. 14 cups (3.3 L) total water, including ~11 cups (2.6 L) as total beverages, including drinking water. 16 cups (3.7 L) total water, including ~13 cups (3 L) as total beverages, including drinking water.
9 cups (2.1 L) total water, including ~7 cups (1.6 L) as total beverages, including drinking water. 10 cups (2.3 L) total water, including ~8 cups (1.8 L) as total beverages, including drinking water. 11.5 cups (2.7 L) total water, including ~9 cups (2.2 L) as total beverages, including drinking water.
Adequate hydration is important for proper functioning of your brain. Mild dehydration – as little as a 1% to 2% loss in body weight due to ﬂuid deﬁciency – can impair your ability to concentrate. And loss of more than 2% body weight due to dehydration can affect your brain’s processing abilities and impair short-term memory.
Fluids are important for healthy heart function and play a role in normalizing blood pressure. Dehydration decreases cardiac output, which may lead to increased heart rate and reduced blood pressure.
* 1 cup equals 8 ﬂuid ounces (~240 ml). Figures rounded up to the nearest cup. ** “Total water” includes ﬂuids from all foods and beverages consumed..
Water aids in the digestion of your food – it’s found almost everywhere in the digestive tract from the saliva in your mouth to the solution of enzymes of your lower intestine. Water also helps dissolve nutrients so that they may be absorbed into your bloodsteam and delivered to your cells.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
Have a beverage with every meal and snack. Choose beverages that you enjoy. Several studies show that children and adults consume about 45% to 50% more liquid when it’s ﬂavored vs. plain water. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables tend to have a high water content, which makes them a great option for helping you meet your hydration needs. Don’t exclusively rely on thirst. Sometimes thirst is not a reliable measure of hydration because of medications or other health conditions. Keep a water bottle or beverage at your desk, in your car, in your bag or wherever you will be reminded to drink. Keep beverages at moderate temperature. Fluids served at moderate temperatures – temperatures that are neither hot nor cold – tend to be consumed in greater volumes. Choose beverages that ﬁt your activity level and lifestyle. If you are watching your calories, consider choosing a low-calorie beverage or create your own refreshing light beverages.
Muscles and Joints
Muscles and joints, in addition to your bones, help you to stand, sit, move and go about your daily life. Water helps cushion joints and keeps muscles working properly. In fact, approximately 70 to 75 percent of your muscle is actually made up of water.
Thirsty for more information? Visit www.thebeverageinstitute.org
Commonly Asked Questions
Can caffeinated beverages help keep me hydrated?
While caffeine may have a mild, short-term diuretic effect in individuals who do not normally consume caffeine, studies have shown that this is not the case for people who regularly consume caffeine. As a result, a report on water needs released in 2004 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that all beverages, including those with caffeine, contribute to hydration.
How much water do I need to drink every day?
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its 2004 Report that women need approximately 11.5 cups of total ﬂuid a day from beverages and food while men need approximately 16 cups day. While you can meet your daily goal with water alone, keep in mind that all beverages, including those with caffeine, as well as foods with a high water content like soup, fruits and vegetables, contribute towards this recommendation. On average, about 80 percent of an individual’s total water needs are met by drinking beverages and about 20 percent is provided by food.
Why are ﬂuids so important to overall health?
Fluids from the beverages you drink and the foods you eat are your body’s primary source of water, which it needs to regulate body temperature, keep skin moist, and transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to your cells. Your body is constantly losing water – through your breath as you exhale, through your skin as perspiration, and through urine. This water must be replaced to maintain good health.
How much should I drink when I exercise?
The following guidelines from The American College of Sports Medicine are designed to help keep active people safely hydrated: • Drink plenty of ﬂuids during the 24-hour period before an event, especially during the meal prior to exercise, to promote proper hydration before exercise. • Consume 14 to 20 ounces (400 to 600 ml) of ﬂuid about two hours before exercise to stay hydrated and allow time to excrete any excess water. • During exercise, drink ﬂuids on a schedule. Drink at regular intervals, every 15 to 20 minutes depending on your sweat rate, to replace water lost through sweating. • For strenuous exercise lasting longer than one hour, drink liquids that contain four to eight percent carbohydrates and approximately .5–.7 grams of sodium per liter of water. This helps delay fatigue and replace what you lose sweating. (Regular sports drinks are formulated in light of these recommendations.) • To rehydrate after exercise, drink 16 ounces (or about 0.5 L) of ﬂuid for every pound (or 0.5 Kg) of body weight lost during exercise.
Is it possible to drink too much?
Yes, although in adults, over-hydration – called hyponatremia – typically affects only endurance athletes who lose a great deal of salt and ﬂuids through sweat, but only replace lost ﬂuid, or slower athletes engaged in endurance events whose water consumption over several hours far exceeds the amount of sweat they lose. As a result, they can experience a dangerous electrolyte imbalance caused by low blood sodium levels. This can lead to disorientation, confusion, seizures, and even death. Unfortunately, signs of hyponatremia are difﬁcult to distinguish from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Can I get dehydrated when it is cold outside?
Although people tend to perspire more in hot weather, dehydration can also be a problem during the winter months. High rates of energy expenditure in winter activities such as snowboarding, ice skating, and skiing and use of heavy clothing can cause signiﬁcant sweating and ﬂuid loss. So, watch out for dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps, even in the winter months. The best way to protect yourself is by drinking ﬂuids throughout the day.
The Beverage Institute For Health & Wellness is a scientiﬁc unit within The Coca-Cola Company that supports research, education and outreach with a primary focus on beverages.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.