What we know about beverage consumption in Canada

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Thirst is a powerful signal that prevents dehydration in healthy adults. While 20% of water can potentially come from solid foods, the majority is consumed from beverages, either as calorie-free drinks (plain water, tea, coffee or sugar-free beverages) or in the form of energy-containing beverages (e.g., soft drinks, juices etc.). Findings of the Canadian Community Health Survey 2.2 demonstrated that about 20-30% and 11-20% of daily calories among Canadians <18 years and those over 19 years come from beverage intakes, respectively.

Men are more likely than women to usually consume 1 serving of soft drinks/day (61% vs. 53%) and the likelihood reduces with age, with 18-24 year olds the most likely (65%) and 65+ year olds the least likely (44%). Drinking diet or calorie-free soft drinks is more common among those over 35, with 37% almost always or always drinking diet or calorie-free soft drinks compared to only 18% of younger Canadians. Younger Canadians (56%) are more likely to add sugar, honey, or other sweeteners to their coffee or tea than Canadians over the age of 55 (38%). In a recent survey of Canadians conducted by our team using the C-DHQ-II Diet History Questionnaire, the most common beverages consumed over the past month were water (91%), followed by soft drinks and coffee (70% each), coffee (58%), 100% orange/grape fruit juice (58%), milk or milk substitutes (56%), hot tea (50%), beer (50%), wine (49%), other 100% fruit juices (46%), and liquor or mixed drinks (37%).

When evaluated as a part of an energy-dense, high-fat, low-fiber dietary pattern associated with higher BMIs, carbonated drinks were the second largest contributor to this unhealthy dietary pattern (positive loading: 0.31), after fast foods (0.35), and increased the risk of obesity by over 3.5 times (95% CI: 2.61-4.84). Collectively, these results point to the urgent need for detailed guidance on healthy beverage consumption in Canada, which needs to be included in the next updated Canada's Food Guide.

Dr. Mary L'Abbé
Earle W. McHenry Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto

Mary R. L'Abbé, PhDis the Earle W. McHenry Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto, where she leads a research group on Food and Nutrition Policy for Population Health. Dr. L'Abbé is an expert in public health nutrition, nutrition policy, and food and nutrition regulations, with a long career in in mineral nutrition research. Her research examines the nutritional quality of the Canadian food supply, food intake patterns, and consumer research on food choices related to obesity and chronic disease. She is also Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutrition Policy for Chronic Disease Prevention. Dr. L'Abbé is a member of several committees of the WHO including the Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group on Diet and Health and the Global Coordinating Mechanism for NCDs. She Chairs the PAHO regional Technical Advisory Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt Reduction. Dr. L'Abbé was co-chair of the Canadian Trans Fat Task Force, led the Trans Fat Monitoring Program and served as Chair and vice-Chair of the Canadian Sodium Working Group. Before joining the University of Toronto, Dr. L'Abbe was Director, Bureau of Nutritional Sciences at Health Canada, where she was responsible for Health Canada's nutrition laboratory research, surveillance, and regulatory programs. She served as Canadian Head of Delegation to the Codex Alimentarius Committees on Nutrition and on Food Labelling and coordinated Canada's role with the US for the Dietary Reference Intakes. Dr. L'Abbé holds a PhD in nutrition from McGill University and has authored over 190 peer-reviewed scientific publications, book chapters and government reports. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Centrum young scientist award, the Earle W. McHenry award for outstanding contributions to nutrition in Canada, the World Hypertension League Notable Achievement in Dietary Salt Reduction, Crampton Award for Leadership in Nutrition, and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal.

***Original Source: "2016 CNS Annual Conference", Friday May 6, 2016

Length: 21:28

Type: Video

Last Updated: May 30, 2016

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