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U of S researchers find beer a favourite fluid among Canadian adults

A University of Saskatchewan study has found that patterns of beverage intake in Canadian women indicate high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, high intake of beer and low intake of milk.

“These patterns in women have implications for poor bone health, risk of obesity and other morbidities,” said researcher Hassan Vatanparast. “The low milk intake in Canadian women relative to other beverages suggests that women are not benefitting from the bone beneficial nutrients in milk and many Canadian women do not meet their requirements for calcium.”

U of S researchers Vatanparast and Susan Whiting from the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition conducted research with Canadians adults 19 to 65 years and included data from over 14,000 Canadian adults taken from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) Cycle 2.2.

Beverage clusters in women and men were identified in the study. A ‘sugar-sweetened’ beverage cluster, including regular soft drinks and fruit drinks, as well as a ‘beer’ cluster appeared for both men and women. No ‘milk’ cluster appeared among women.

The intake of beer was higher than other dominant beverages, which indicates the popularity of this beverage by Canadian adults. The mean consumption of the dominant beverage in each cluster was higher among men than women. Interestingly, the ‘soft drink’ cluster in men was lower with higher levels of education, and in women, had the highest proportion of inactivity compared to other clusters.

The contribution of sugar-sweetened beverages (fruit drinks and soft drinks) was over 50 per cent of total energy intake from beverages. This, along with low levels of physical activity found in the CCHS warrants further research to evaluate whether these patterns of sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with overweight, obesity and co-morbidities.

“This is the first nationally representative study in Canada characterizing the patterns of beverage consumption among Canadian adults. Findings from this study have important policy and practice applications toward improving dietary habits and decreasing risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases,” Vatanparast said.

Public health nutrition messages, such as reducing sugar-sweetened beverage intake and replacing them with healthy beverages, should be targeted to specific sex, age and socio demographic groups, such as university students. Most preventative strategies and health messages have targeted limiting the intake of carbonated soft drinks mainly in children.

“University students fall within the target age range for the study and increased awareness of the importance of drinking milk, water and healthy beverages is vital to ensuring a healthy transition to university,” said Vatanparast. “As many students have busy schedules and are trying to balance school and work, drinking healthy beverages plays an important role in maintaining energy and focus.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22931911

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22905635