The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released updated dietary guidelines, including new infant feeding guidelines, which reflect stronger evidence that Australians should eat more fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and core reduced fat dairy foods, while limiting their consumption of energy rich nutrient poor ‘junk’ foods. But while the Guidelines have been welcomed by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), the organisation has warned that they don’t go far enough when it comes to limiting consumption of soft drinks to ‘low-kilojoule’ ones.
The revised Guidelines (which were last revised in 2003) are based on Systematic Literature Reviews which looked at around 55,000 pieces of peer reviewed published scientific research. The total diet approach of the Guidelines reflects information about helping Australians eat the right foods for health, with an energy (kilojoule) intake to help achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight, according to a press release put out by the Department of Health and Ageing.
The Guidelines reflect stronger evidence that Australians should eat more fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and core reduced fat dairy foods, while limiting their consumption of energy rich nutrient poor ‘junk’ foods.
“To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, Australians need to balance physical activity with amounts of nutritious foods and drinks that meet energy needs. We all need to limit energy rich nutrient poor ‘junk foods’ that are high in saturated fat, added salt or sugar,” NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said.
“While the Guidelines suggest that the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks (soft drinks) is associated with increased risk of weight gain in adults in children, the ADA warns that this only tells half the story,” Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, Dr Peter Alldritt said.
“The public is urged to also note that the Guidelines state:
‘The acidity of sweetened drinks is also relevant to dental erosion, a major factor in dental decay. This applies equally to sweetened or diet soft drinks, since their acidity is comparable.’
“Whether or not a soft drink has ‘low sugar’ it still has the same amount of acidity, and therefore still increases the risk of dental caries. Australians should limit their consumption of soft drinks, whether or not they are high or ‘low’ in sugar.”
“Australians should be careful to limit their consumption of cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks and soft drinks (both full flavour and low sugar varieties). Children and teens should be encouraged to drink water (preferably fluoridated tap water) as much as possible.”
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