Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm moving to Australia

You know that was actually the plan once. Before I finished my residency I had met with some recruiters from Australia and was offered a job doing medicine in rural Australia - then I met my wife.

Today I'm once again itching to move, but today it's simply because Australia is the first country I've come across (there may be more) that has not bowed to Big Food's pressure and has actually gone and done what in Canada and the United States is almost unthinkable.

What have they done?

They've officially recognized fruit juice to be the glass of God sugar that it is.

They've even informed parents that half a glass a day is a maximum!

Contrast that with our god-awful Food Guide that states drinking juice is as good for you as eating fruit.

Here's what Australia's national science agency the CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, has to say about juice:

"Fruit juices provide nutrients but almost no fibre so they don’t give the same benefits as eating fresh fruit. Fruit is also more filling than fruit juice. Juices are high in kilojoules and the sugar in fruit juice may play a part in tooth decay. It is recommended that children do not drink more than ½ cup of fruit juice each day."
They've also got some sensible words regarding milk as they are aware that you can actually eat dairy products rather than drink them and have an entire campaign entitled, Give Thirsty Kids Water

Just in case you've forgotten, Happy Corporations....I mean Health Canada includes juice as a serving of fruit (complete with pictorial reference in the Guide) and does not give any maximums on its consumption.
"Make water your beverage of choice. Milk, fortified soy beverages and 100% juice are also healthy options. Make them part of your recommended number of Food Guide Servings per day."
Regarding milk, Health Canada believes it to be a magic food - apparently the only substance on the planet that can provide vitamin D.
"Encourage young children to drink water to quench their thirst and replenish body fluids. Canada 's Food Guide recommends that children and adults choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice. Children also need a total of 500 mL (2 cups) of milk every day to help meet their requirement for vitamin D."
That's right Canadians, your Food Guide, part of how we sell food in Canada, and for those who don't remember, a guide officially co-launched by our Secretary of State for Agriculture.

My plans to move however, may be premature as when my just barely 3 year old daughter heard me mention the "Give thirsty kids water" campaign shouted out with great concern,
"No! We like milk!"
Guess Health Canada got to her.

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  1. Crystal, RD6:36 am


  2. kristy12:13 pm

    To be fair, Canada's Food Guide does recommend that we choose fruit more often than juice, so I don't know if your statement that the food guide "states drinking juice is as good for you as eating fruit" is accurate. It simply indicates that 100% fruit juice counts as a fruit serving.

    And Canada's Food Guide does list a serving of fruit juice as 1/2 cup, which is a reasonable portion size. Our perception of what is reasonable has been skewed by food industry which provides us with GIANT juice servings - 493mL, 590ml, 750ml, ect. Clearly this is far more than CFG recommends.

    But I do understand what you are saying in that juice is often presented as "healtier" than pop, when in reality the calorie and sugar content are the same. This message definitely needs to get out more.

  3. I offered my oldest daughter some orange juice once at a brunch and she declined, saying, "I want some fresh water." My kids have only had whole milk and water since they were weaned/off the bottle. Juicebox? What's that?

    The good thing for us adults is that because the kids won't drink it, I never buy it. I lost 10 extra pounds plus the 30 I lost after my twin pregnancy, and I think it was because we essentially went to a water-only home.

    I do let the girls have an Oreo once in a while, and every once in a great while, half a plain donut. But they have it with milk, and they never ask for another one.