Find out which drinks are healthier choices, and how to get enough fluids every day to stay hydrated.
Water is a healthy and cheap choice to keep you hydrated, but other drinks can also count towards your fluid intake. We also get some fluids from the foods we eat.
Not getting enough fluids can lead to dehydration.
Daily fluid intake
Most people should aim to drink enough during the day so their pee is a clear pale yellow colour.
The Eatwell Guide recommends that people should aim to drink 6 to 8 cups or glasses of fluid a day. Water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.
You may need to drink more fluids if you're:
- pregnant or breastfeeding
- in a hot environment
- physically active for long periods
- ill or recovering from illness
The best drinks to give children are water and milk. Children should drink whole milk until they're 2 years old.
Children should avoid sugary fizzy drinks, squash and juice drinks completely. Children who drink a lot of sugary drinks are more likely to become overweight. The added sugar in these drinks can also damage teeth.
Tips to help you stay hydrated with healthier drinks
drink regularly throughout the day
swap sugary drinks for diet, sugar-free or no added sugar drinks
adults can choose lower fat milk, such as semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk and unsweetened plant-based drinks
limit fruit juice and smoothies to a maximum of one small glass (150ml) a day and drink with a meal, as they're high in sugar
check nutrition labels on drinks – look for drinks with green or amber colour-coded labels
drink extra fluids if you've been sweating from physical activity, or if you're unwell – water is the best way to replace lost fluids
dilute squash drinks or cordials well to reduce the sugar content
drink caffeine in moderation – some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, depending on how much they drink and how often. Check the label for drinks that are high in caffeine.
if you don't like the taste of water, try sparkling water, no added sugar squash, or add a slice of lemon or lime
do not have drinks that are high in sugar too often – they're higher in calories and the sugar can damage your teeth
do not have more than 200mg of caffeine a day if you're pregnant – this could increase the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight
Cut down on sugar
- Read more about cutting down on sugar in your diet
- Look for healthier drink swaps at NHS Healthier Families
- Find out what counts as your 5 a day
As well as limiting caffeine to 200mg per day, find out more about foods to avoid in pregnancy.
Choose healthier drinks
Find out more about reading food and drink labels.