Will fruit juice be cut from Canada's Food Guide?
Published Tuesday, May 19, 2015 4:13PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 19, 2015 6:51PM EDT
Fruit juice, a common fixture in fridges and on breakfast tables across North America, may soon be struck off Canada's Food Guide.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal said the director of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion recently implied that Health Canada may alter Canada's Food Guide recommendation of fruit juice as one way to get enough fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
According to the CMAJ, Dr. Hasan Hutchinson hinted at a recent obesity summit that Health Canada may be changing its recommendations surrounding juice.
"You won't be seeing that anymore … and there'll be a fair number of new materials coming out in the next few months," he said.
The current Food Guide recommends that adult Canadians consume between seven to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, depending on their age and gender. It is recommended that children and teens consume between four to eight servings a day.
According to the guide, half a cup of 100 per cent juice is the equivalent of a single serving.
But juice has been on the radar of nutritionists, doctors, and parents for years over concerns about the amount of sugar it contains.
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, from the University of Ottawa, has complained to Health Canada before about the inclusion of juice in Canada's Food Guide.
He said there is a common perception that because fruit juice is derived from fruits, it is healthier than soda.
"We have this weird fascination with 'It was once natural, therefore it's good in society.' This is an example where natural does not mean good," he told CTV News.
After the CMAJ report was published Tuesday, Health Canada released a statement saying the department is currently “reviewing the evidence base for its current guidance” to Canadians.
“Depending on the conclusions of the scientific review, guidance for consumption (quantity and frequency) of various foods, including juice, could be updated in the future,” the statement read.
Health Canada also noted it considers the “scientific underpinning” of Canada’s Food Guide on an ongoing basis to determine if updates are appropriate.
In March, the World Health Organization said the world was consuming too much sugar, recommending people slash their intake of sugar to just six to 12 teaspoons per day.
Popular brands of orange and apple juice can contain as much as five teaspoons of sugar per serving.
A recent study published in European journal Diabetologia linked daily consumption of sweetened drinks with diabetes risk.
The study found that for each five-per-cent increase of a person's total energy intake provided by sweet drinks, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes could rise by 18 per cent.
The study also found that replacing one sugary drink with water, tea or coffee each day could help cut the risk of developing diabetes by as much as 25 per cent.
But a 2012 study found that consumption of 100 per cent fruit juice was linked with improved nutrient intake and could contribute to a healthy diet.
In a statement to CTV News, the Canadian Beverage Association said 100 per cent fruit juice is one way Canadians can conveniently “round out” their diets.
“One hundred per cent fruit juice is a source of the same nutrients found in whole fruits, and at a time that we know Canadians aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, provide a convenient way to round out fruit servings for people who want some choice,” the statement said.
“We’re happy to work with the government and other partners to ensure Canadians have the best information possible to make decisions that are right for their families.”