Monday, February 13, 2017

Remember This The Next Time You Hear Soda Consumption's Going Down

Last week saw the release of yet another important initiative from Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation - this one on sugary drinks.

Now the news often talks about how soda consumption is going down (-27% according to this report), and while it was slightly heartening to learn that juice consumption has gone down by 10%, neither are going down in a vacuum.

During that same time frame, other liquid candy sources have picked up some major steam
  • Energy drinks +638%
  • Sweetened coffees +579%
  • Flavoured water +527%
  • Drinkable yogurt +283%
  • Sweetened teas +36%
  • Flavoured milk +21%
  • Sports drinks +4%
Also shocking were the daily per capita consumption amounts - especially of the kids:
  • Children 0 – 8 years consumed 326ml/d
  • Youth 9 – 18 years consumed 578ml/d
  • Young adults 19 – 30 years consumed 504 ml/d
  • Adults 31+ years consumed 259ml/d
And you have to remember that per capita is an average per person that includes those of us whose kids consume virtually none. And when considering the incredible rise in energy drink consumption also remember that Red Bull was the 4th most commonly advertised food on the top 10 websites favoured by 2-11 year old children.

Looking to my experiences in our office's Ministry of Health funded program that works with parents of children whose weights are a concern, I can tell you that it's not at all uncommon for kids to be consuming 300 or more calories of chocolate milk and juice a day. In most of these cases, the kids were doing so consequent to their parents great intentions - intentions that have been poisoned by a national Food Guide that includes chocolate milk as a healthy dairy choice, and juice as a fruit and vegetable equivalent this despite chocolate milk being to milk what apple pies are to apples, and juice being just a flat soda pop alternative with a smattering of vitamins.

Liquid calories, especially sugary ones, are perhaps healthier diets' lowest hanging fruits. That Canada is still dithering on them, especially those that are marketed to kids as being healthy by way of the Food Guide and school milk programs, is quite unfortunate.