Fluid and water intake have received limited attention in epidemiological studies. The aim of this study was to compare the average daily consumption of foods and beverages in adults of selective samples of the European Union (EU) population in order to understand the contribution of these to the total water intake (TWI), evaluate if the EU adult population consumes adequate amounts of total water (TW) according to the current guidelines, and to illustrate the real water intake in Europe.
Three national European dietary surveys have been selected: Spain used the Anthropometry, Intake, and Energy Balance Study (ANIBES) population database, Italy analyzed data from the Italian National Food Consumption Survey (INRAN-SCAI 2005-06), and French data came from the NutriNet-Santé database. Mean daily consumption was used to compare between individuals. TWI was compared with European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reference values for adult men and women.
On average, in Spain, TWI was 1.7 L (SE 22.9) for men and 1.6 L (SE 19.4) for women; Italy recorded 1.7 L (SE 16.9) for men and 1.7 L (SE 14.1) for women; and France recorded 2.3 L (SE 4.7) for men and 2.1 L (SE 2.4) for women. With the exception of women in France, neither men nor women consumed sufficient amounts of water according to EFSA reference values.
This study highlights the need to formulate appropriate health and nutrition policies to increase TWI in the EU population. The future of beverage intake assessment requires the use of new instruments, techniques, and the application of the new available technologies.