Updated 02 October 2015

Fluid recommendations for South Africans

This information has been adapted from the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines and the US Beverage Guidance Panel, 2006.

Water fulfills almost all the fluid needs of healthy adults. Women should drink at least four glasses (250ml) and men at least six glasses (250ml) of clean, safe water per day. Children should drink water when thirsty and limit their intake of milk to 600ml per day (from the age of five years, all children and adults should drink low-fat or fat-free milk) and fruit juice to 240ml per day.
  • Drinks should not contribute to more than 14% of total daily energy intake.
  • Schools should encourage children to meet their fluid needs with water and ensure the provision of clean, safe water as well as limit the availability of other cool drinks/juices.

Sweetened cool drinks, such as carbonated cool drinks, should be limited to no more than 240ml (approximately one standard cup). These drinks should be avoided by diabetics and inactive, overweight adults and children.

Fruit and vegetable juices (100% juices) and sports drinks should be limited to no more than 240ml (approximately one standard cup).

Diet- or artificially sweetened cool drinks could replace sweetened drinks in a varied diet (up to four servings of 240ml, approximately one standard cup).

Unsweetened coffee and tea: Adults should limit their intake of caffeine drinks to no more than four cups of coffee per day or eight cups of tea per day. Preferably, these should be with fat-free or low-fat milk and no sugar.

Low-fat or skim milk or soy beverages (enriched with calcium): Adults should limit their intake of fat-free and low-fat milk to 500ml per day. Low-fat milk may only be introduced after two years of age in overweight children. After the age of five years, it is safe to reduce the child's saturated fat intake in order to follow the prudent guidelines. For individuals who, for whatever reason, choose not to consume dairy products, other dietary sources of calcium should be included in the diet.

- Information supplied by the Nutrition Information Centre of the University of Stellenbosch (NICUS).


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