This study aimed to examine the association between drinking water intake and diet quality, and to analyse the adherence of French men and women to the European Food Safety Authority 2010 Adequate Intake (EFSA AI). A representative sample of French adults (≥18) from the Individual and National Survey on Food Consumption (INCA2) was classified, by sex, into small, medium, and large drinking water consumers. Diet quality was assessed with several nutritional indices (mean adequacy ratio (MAR), mean excess ratio (MER), probability of adequate intakes (PANDiet), and solid energy density (SED)). Of the total sample, 72% of men and 46% of women were below the EFSA AI. This percentage of non-adherence decreased from the small to the large drinking water consumers (from 95% to 34% in men and from 81% to 9% in women). For both sexes, drinking water intake was associated with higher diet quality (greater MAR and PANDiet). This association remained significant independently of socio-economic status for women only. Low drinking water consumers did not compensate with other sources (beverages and food moisture) and a high drinking water intake was not a guarantee for reaching the EFSA AI, meaning that increasing consumption of water should be encouraged in France.
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