Challenges of linking chronic dehydration and fluid consumption to health outcomes

Nutr Rev. 2012 Nov:70 Suppl 2:S121-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00539.x.


The purpose of this article is to review the effects of chronic mild dehydration and fluid consumption on specific health outcomes including obesity. The electronic databases PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for relevant literature published from the time of their inception to 2011, with results restricted to studies performed on human subjects and reports in the English language. Key words included the following: dehydration, hypohydration, water intake, fluid intake, disease, and the names of specific disease states. Strength of evidence categories were described for 1) medical conditions associated with chronic dehydration or low daily water intake, and 2) randomized-controlled trials regarding the effects of increased water consumption on caloric intake, weight gain, and satiety. This process determined that urolithiasis is the only disorder that has been consistently associated (i.e., 11 of 13 publications) with chronic low daily water intake. Regarding obesity and type 2 diabetes, evidence suggests that increased water intake may reduce caloric intake for some individuals. Recommendations for future investigations include measuring total fluid intake (water + beverages + water in solid food), conducting randomized-controlled experiments, identifying novel hydration biomarkers, and delineating hydration categories.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dehydration / complications*
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Health Status*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Urolithiasis / epidemiology
  • Urolithiasis / etiology*


  • Biomarkers