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Nutrición Hospitalaria

versión On-line ISSN 1699-5198versión impresa ISSN 0212-1611


SALAS-SALVADO, Jordi et al. The importance of water consumption in health and disease prevention: the current situation. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2020, vol.37, n.5, pp.1072-1086.  Epub 04-Ene-2021. ISSN 1699-5198.

Water is an essential nutrient for life and the most abundant component in the human body. However, its dietary recommendations or clinical management guidelines do not receive as much attention as they deserve. In addition, there are some obstacles to establishing optimal values, both for the amount of water the body must contain and for water ingestion. Water intake and elimination depend on unsteady factors that are difficult to measure and, at the same time, compensated by the body's ability to regulate homeostasis. Since scientific evidence is lacking for establishing recommendations, “adequate intakes” (to maintain an adequate hydration state) have been estimated using data on water intake from groups of healthy people. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also considers desirable the use of urine osmolarity to estimate the adequacy of water intake in adults.

Clinical studies have generally shown the benefits of adequate hydration and the damage caused by water imbalance, whether quantitative (dehydration and overhydration) or qualitative (extracellular and intracellular water). Unfortunately, these studies are few and often have poor cross-sectional, case-control, or prospective designs, and use small samples or indirect methods to assess hydration status.

This article presents up-to-date information on subjects such as: 1) compliance with water consumption recommendations and suggestions for improvement; 2) techniques available to measure hydration status and their clinical applications; 3) effects of hydration/dehydration on physical or cognitive activities and chronic diseases; and 4) existing Spanish regulations on the quality and salubrity of water.

Palabras clave : Water intake; Hydration; Dehydration; Health status; Extracellular water; Intracellular water.

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