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BACKGROUND: Various recommendations exist for total water intake (TWI), yet this is seldom reported in dietary surveys. Few studies have examined how real-life consumption patterns, including beverage type, variety and timing relate to TWI and energy intake (EI). METHODS: We analysed weighed dietary records from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of 1724 British adults aged 19–64 years (2000/2001) to investigate beverage consumption patterns over 24 hrs and 7 days and associations with TWI and EI. TWI was calculated from the nutrient composition of each item of food and drink and compared with reference values. RESULTS: Mean TWI was 2.53 L (SD 0.86) for men and 2.03 L (SD 0.71) for women, close to the European Food Safety Authority “adequate Intake” (AI) of 2.5 L and 2 L, respectively. However, for 33% of men and 23% of women TWI was below AI and TWI:EI ratio was <1 g/kcal. Beverages accounted for 75% of TWI. Beverage variety was correlated with TWI (r 0.34) and more weakly with EI (r 0.16). Beverage consumption peaked at 0800 hrs (mainly hot beverages/ milk) and 2100 hrs (mainly alcohol). Total beverage consumption was higher at weekends, especially among men. Overall, beverages supplied 16% of EI (men 17%, women 14%), alcoholic drinks contributed 9% (men) and 5% (women), milk 5-6%, caloric soft drinks 2%, and fruit juice 1%.In multi-variable regression (adjusted for sex, age, body weight, smoking, dieting, activity level and mis-reporting), replacing 100 g of caloric beverages (milk, fruit juice, caloric soft drinks and alcohol) with 100 g non-caloric drinks (diet soft drinks, hot beverages and water) was associated with a reduction in EI of 15 kcal, or 34 kcal if food energy were unchanged. Using within-person data (deviations from 7-day mean) each 100 g change in caloric beverages was associated with 29 kcal change in EI or 35 kcal if food energy were constant. By comparison the calculated energy content of caloric drinks consumed was 47 kcal/100 g. CONCLUSIONS: TWI and beverage consumption are closely related, and some individuals appeared to have low TWI. Compensation for energy from beverages may occur but is partial. A better understanding of interactions between drinking and eating habits and their impact on water and energy balance would give a firmer basis to dietary recommendations.
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Drinking, Calorie, Food and drink, Coffee, Drink, Kefir, Nutrition, Alcoholic beverage
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