What does Canada's new Food Guide say about dental health?
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
Canada’s new food guide was released last week and it seems like everyone is talking about it. This new guide is a dramatic change from previous thinking. Gone is the concept of planning meals around the four food groups and recommended serving sizes. This new guide stresses proportion over portion and encourages us to take the time to plan and enjoy meals together, at home.
Essentially, the new guide has simplified the interpretation of what we should be eating. It directly encourages us to eat more plant-based proteins and whole grains while removing the emphasis on meat and dairy products. It also includes some warnings about what we should not be eating and drinking – specifically processed foods and fruit juices, the later of which was a recommended part of a healthy breakfast in the previous food guide.
The part of the new food guide that interests me is the beverage intake recommendation. The new food guide encourages Canadians to drink more water. Not more water in addition to milk or fruit juice. Just more water. The logic is simply to limit the intake of sugar, obviously a good thing. Potentially, the biggest beneficiary from this idea would be young children and adolescents, who represent the age group which consumes a higher proportion of sugary drinks. If this recommendation gains traction, it will likely help to limit tooth decay in this age group. Those who consume large amounts of sodas, fruit juices, and sports and energy drinks (both acidic and high in sugar) are also at higher risk of developing dental decay, so any notion that limits consumption of these beverages can only have a positive effect on the rate of decay in our population generally. That would be a very good thing for Canadians' overall health and the health of their teeth.