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International Congress of Nutrition, Guidelines for Adequate Water Intake.

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Guidelines for Adequate Water Intake: A Public Heath Rationale

Brussels - 30th September 2013 - A scientific symposium at the International Congress of Nutrition in Granada (Spain) restated the importance of adequate hydration and presented the science supporting the health claims recently approved by EFSA in relation to water.

Mood and cognitive state are greatly affected if sufficient levels of hydration are not maintained

The 2013 "Guidelines for Adequate Water Intake: A Public Health Rationale" EFBW symposium was held on the 18th September at the 20th Annual International Congress of Nutrition (ICN) in Granada, Spain. The congress saw more than 4,000 experts come together to discuss the main advances and obstacles to nutrition.

Dr. Laurent Le Bellego, Chairman of the EFBW Health Group, chaired the symposium. It featured presentations from Pr. Lawrence Armstrong (USA), Dr. Stavros Kavouras (USA) and Dr. Harris Lieberman (USA). The need for adequate water intake in the Public Health sector was discussed by each speaker, touching on existing and current scientific research as to the effects of dehydration on the average consumer.

Opening the symposium, Dr. Le Bellego highlighted the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water released in 20101, which recommends that on average 1.6 Litre per Day of water should be consumed by women and up to 2.0 Litre per Day for men. Dr. Le Bellego also emphasized the fact that these adequate water intake levels were a basis for setting the condition of use of the health claims related to water which were recently approved by the European Commission2.

Dr. Stavros Kavouras presented on the scientific background of the "European health claims: water intake is essential for the maintenance of normal physical function and thermoregulation – a scientific review." Dr. Kavouras noted that the sensation of thirst is a key instinct in body fluid homeostasis. Considering exercise performance and its relation to healthy hydration, he commented, "Dehydrated people have a lot higher body temperature than normal. If we look at the active population, people that walk and cycle, and the athletic population that undertake intense training, their body temperature is significantly higher when they are dehydrated." He noted how hypo-hydration decreases exercise performance in hot environments, provoking increased strain on the body. Kavouras compared recent scientific studies on sports, such as uphill cycling and basketball, with current publications on avoiding dehydration at -2% of body mass whilst exercising.

1 EFSA Journal 2010; 8(3):1459

2 EFSA Journal 2011;9(4):2075


Dr. Harris Lieberman presented "Water intake is Essential for the Maintenance of Normal Cognitive function – a scientific review". He commented on two recent studies conducted at the University of Connecticut to address the effects of mild dehydration on cognitive function in both men and women. These studies found that women were more greatly affected by dehydration than men, with women reporting headaches and confusion whilst being mildly dehydrated.

Dr. Lieberman concluded, "Our studies suggest that it is important for women at relatively low levels of dehydration to regain hydration to avoid subtle symptoms such as a minor headache." Mood and cognitive state are greatly affected if sufficient levels of hydration are not maintained.


EFBW is the voice of the European bottled water industry. A not-for-profit trade association with a membership base that includes national associations, companies and scientific bodies, EFBW collectively represents more than 600 producers of natural mineral water and spring water across Europe.

The Federation works to ensure that naturally sourced waters continue to offer a high quality, pure and convenient way to hydrate, and represents a sustainable and responsible choice for Europeans. The sector accounts for more than 158,000 direct employees throughout the production chain.

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