(February 13, 2004)
On February 11, 2004, The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Panel on Electrolytes and Water of the Food Nutrition Board/Institute of Medicine (FNB/IOM) issued its report, Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. The report was released at a press conference with simultaneous internet “webcast.”
While the report did not include recommended intake levels for water, it did state that “women who appear to be adequately hydrated consume an average of approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men average approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces) daily. These values represent adequate intake levels, the panel said; those who are very physically active or who live in hot climates may need to consume more water.”
To read the NAS report summary, press release and other material online, visit www.nationalacademies.org. The report itself in pre-publication form will be viewable at the NAP website: www.nap.edu. To view IBWA’s press release, visit www.bottledwater.org.
Some media outlets covering the NAS report are misinforming their audiences by reporting that NAS has rejected the general guidance to drink eight, 8-ounce servings of water (64 ounces) each day (the “8×8” guidance). In fact, NAS specifically did not make any intake recommendations or comment on the 8×8 guidance, at all.
The NAS report contains good news for the bottled water industry. It stated that about 80 percent of people’s total water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages — and the remaining 20 percent is derived from food.
This means that men seeking to stay adequately hydrated would need to drink 100 ounces of water or other beverages and just over 72 ounces for women. These NAS findings exceed the previous general guidance to drink 64 ounces of water as recommended by the 8×8 guidance. The bottled water industry should remain confident in discussing the report’s findings because for consumers who wish to follow the NAS observation for adequate hydration, they can indeed choose water– or bottled water — as their beverage of choice.
IBWA has developed the following information points that may be useful in helping members handle inquiries from consumers or media.
- While NAS acknowledges that other beverages and foods contribute to hydration, the report unquestionably validates the importance of drinking water for hydration.
- According to data presented in the NAS report, as part of their total water intake from food and beverage sources, men are adequately hydrated by drinking 100 ounces of water and other beverages, and women at a level of just over 72 ounces. This does, indeed, give support to – and goes beyond — the general guidance to consume eight, 8-ounce (64 ounces) servings of water each day.
- For consumers who choose water as a beverage for hydration and refreshment, bottled water is an excellent choice because of its consistent safety, quality, good taste and convenience.
- NAS specifically did not make any intake recommendations or comment on the 8×8 guidance, at all.
- What better replacement for lost water from the body than water itself? While the report states that other foods and beverages can contribute to hydration, water does not add calories, caffeine, sugar or other ingredients that consumers may wish to avoid or moderate.
- The report did not express concern for the over-consumption of water. As published in its report, NAS stated, “Hyponatremia (ed. Note: over consumption) of fluid does not occur in healthy populations consuming the average North American diet.”
- The press release also states, “Some athletes who engage in strenuous activity and some individuals with certain psychiatric disorders occasionally drink water in excessive amounts that can be life-threatening. However, such occurrences are highly unusual.” Therefore, the panel did not set an upper limit or maximum intake water.
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The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA’s membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. Strengthened by IBWA Model Code, the Association is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or log onto IBWA’s web site (www.bottledwater.org) for more information about bottled water and a list of members’ brands. Media inquiries can be directed to Stephen Kay at 703-683-5213.