Americans Advised to Cut Salt, Follow Thirst
Report Lowers Recommended Salt Intake, Eases Water Rules
WebMD News Archive
Fulfilling Your Thirst continued...
They say that although low intake of water has been associated with some
chronic diseases, there is not enough evidence to establish water intake
recommendations as a means to reduce the risks of chronic disease.
"We don't offer any rule of thumb based on how many glasses of water
people should drink each day because our hydration needs can be met through a
variety of sources in addition to drinking water," says panel chairman
Lawrence Appel, MD, MPH, in a news release. "While drinking water is a
frequent choice for hydration, people also get water from juice, milk, coffee,
tea, soda, fruits, vegetables, and other foods and beverages as well.
"Moreover, we concluded that on a daily basis, people get adequate
amounts of water from normal drinking behavior -- consumption of beverages at
meals and in other social situations -- and by letting their thirst guide
them," says Appel, who is also professor of medicine, epidemiology, and
international health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Following your thirst may work for healthy, sedentary adults, but experts
say there are also important exceptions to that rule.
"If you're active, participating in exercise, living in an environment
that's a little bit warmer or drier, then I think you'll have to look at more
physiological signs as opposed to looking at thirst," says Jackie Berning,
PhD, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
"You have to look at the color of your urine," says Berning, who is
associate professor of nutrition at the University of Colorado at Colorado
Springs. "If it's that dark apple juice color, then despite the fact that
you're not thirsty, you've got to put more fluids in."
Berning says that among active people, dehydration is the No. 1 danger she
sees. If someone is not optimally hydrated, any type of stress, such as a
change in altitude, activity, or temperature, could put their health at
Pass on Salt, Reach for Potassium
The report sets a maximum upper limit on salt at 5.8 grams (5,800 mg) per
day. But researchers say more than 95% of Canadian men aged 31 to 50 and 75% of
American women in that age group regularly consume more salt than that.