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Nutrition

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Unfold Close  HEALTHY HYDRATION

This page looks at case studies of people with different fluid requirements and ways in which they can change their daily fluid intake to help achieve healthy hydration.

Maureen is in her 70s, is in relatively good health and living at home alone. She tends to have drinks with her meals, but doesn’t feel particularly thirsty between meals.

What Maureen drinks

Breakfast                                

  • Mug of tea with whole milk (21kcal)

Lunch

  • Glass of water (0kcal)
  • Mug of instant coffee with whole milk (21kcal)

Dinner

  • Glass of orange squash (54kcal)
  • Mug of hot chocolate made with whole milk (190kcal)

Total glasses =  5 (approx 750ml – 1 litre)
Total kcal = 286 (14% Reference Intake (RI))

BNF says: Maureen is drinking  less than the recommended 8 glasses per day, which puts her at greater risk of dehydration. Although she doesn’t feel thirsty in between meals, the sensation of thirst gets weaker as we age and so older adults may need to drink even when they are not thirsty. It would be a good idea for Maureen to get into the habit of having drinks between meals as well as at meal times – these could include tea, coffee or other hot drinks such as herbal and fruit infusions. Including fruit juice as a drink could also count as one of her 5 A DAY. For top tips on healthy ageing, see http://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/healthyageing/top-tips-for-healthy-ageing

Jamie is 15 and in his final year at school. He is a healthy weight and does lots of exercise, but is not particularly worried about healthy eating. He chooses foods or drinks according to what he likes the taste of and what he can buy when he is out and about. 

What Jamie drinks
Breakfast

  • Glass of orange juice (72kcal)

On the way to school

  • Can of fizzy drink (139kcal)

Mid-morning

  • Carton of juice drink (70kcal)

Lunch

  • Bottle of soft drink (205kcal)

On the way home from school

  • Carton of juice (75kcal)

Dinner

  • Glass of squash (50kcal)

Total glasses = 7 (bottle counts as two, approx 1.2-1.6 litres)
Total kcal = 611 (31% RI)

BNF says: it’s great that Jamie is active and a healthy weight, but the nutritional balance of the drinks he is choosing is not ideal.  Typically teenagers are getting too little of some vitamins and minerals, e.g. riboflavin and calcium, and consuming too much sugar, which can affect dental health. Surveys suggest that about one third of sugar consumption in teenagers comes from drinks. Jamie could still have an orange juice with breakfast as one of his 5 A DAY, but swapping the fizzy drink for a sugar-free version and changing his other drinks for milk or water could reduce the sugar he gets from drinks by about 75%. In addition, having two glasses of semi-skimmed milk per day would provide about half the calcium and riboflavin he needs to grow and stay healthy. For more information on healthy eating for teenagers, see http://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/lifestages/teenagers.

Wendy is in her 40s and would like to lose two stone to get back to a healthy weight. She’s cutting back on snacks and fried foods but hasn’t really considered what she drinks

What Wendy drinks
Breakfast

  • Mug of tea with semi-skimmed and one sugar (34kcal)
  • Glass of orange juice (72kcal)

Mid-morning

  • Large latte (223kcal)

Lunch

  • Can of standard soft drink (139kcal)


Mid afternoon

  • Mug of tea with semi-skimmed and one sugar (34kcal)

Dinner

  • Two glasses of red wine (240kcal)

Total glasses of fluid = 5 (750ml-1litre) Not including wine as this has a dehydrating effect.

Total kcal = 742 (31% RI)

BNF says: for a healthy rate of weight loss, Wendy should be looking to consume about 500kcals less than her body burns off. Simply by changing what she drinks – not having sugar in tea, having a filter coffee instead of a latte, a diet soft drink and skipping the wine, she could save nearly 700kcals a day. – This alone could help her lose about 1lb per week. She is also not drinking that much fluid, especially considering that wine has a dehydrating effect. She would benefit from a few extra glasses of water or other calorie-free fluids during the day. More information on healthy weight loss can be found here.

John is determined to get fit and has taken up jogging 3 times per week. He goes for about 30 minutes each time. He’s interested in staying healthy and is careful about choosing what he eats and drinks.

What John drinks
Breakfast

  • Mug of tea with semi-skimmed milk (18kcal)
  • Orange juice (72kcal)

Mid-morning

  • Mug of herbal tea (0kcal)

Lunch

  • 2 glasses of sparkling water (0kcal)
  • Mug of green tea (0kcal)

Mid afternoon

  • Mug of tea with semi-skimmed milk (18kcal)
  • 2 glasses of water (0kcal)

Dinner

  • Glass of flavoured water with sweeteners (3kcal)

Total glasses of fluid = 10 (approx 2 litres)
Total kcal = 111 (6%)

BNF says: John is making healthy choices when it comes to drinks, and the amount he drinks is in line with recommendations for men to drink 10 glasses per day. However, on the days when he runs, he may need more fluid. Jogging for 30 minutes would not require a special sports drink, but he should make sure he is hydrated before starting his activity, and that he rehydrates afterwards. He could try having an extra glass or two of water or other fluids during the afternoon, andhaving another glass or two of water after exercising. For more information on eating for sport and exercise, click here.


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