Dietary Advice for All Stages of Life
Adults and Older people
- Suggestions for between meal snacks are fruit, crisp raw vegetables, sandwiches, variety of breads, yoghurts, low fat cheese, plain popcorn and scones
- Cereals such as porridge and shredded wheat are excellent energy providers, but avoid the sugar-coated types. In general, the sugar and salt content of breakfast cereals should be checked as some breakfast cereals are high in one or the other or both.
- Milk and water are suitable to drink between meals.
- Pure juices, fruit squashes and smoothies should be consumed at meal times.
- Drinks containing added sugars, including probiotic and yoghurt type drinks, should be consumed at meal times.
- Regular intake of carbonated drinks, including sparkling water, can lead to enamel erosion of the teeth and should be avoided.
Health implications of soft drinks
Some 21% of school-aged children in Ireland report drinking soft drinks on a daily basis. Epidemiological studies in the United States, which has the highest per capita soft drink consumption in the world, have linked daily consumption of soft drinks containing cola (a phosphoric acid) with lower bone density in women. There is also concern that daily soft drink consumption is displacing milk intake, an important source of dietary calcium, thereby increasing the risk among young teenage girls of osteoporosis in later life. Research in the United States has also shown an association between soft drink consumption and the incidence of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Dental Health Implications
The frequent consumption of sugar containing fizzy drinks not only put teeth at risk to decay but can also cause erosion of the enamel. This is due to their acidic content (see Tooth Wear for more details).
Fruit juices are an important source of vitamins in the diet. However, they should be taken with meals for two reasons. The frequent consumption of these can lead to enamel erosion and although pure juices may not contain sucrose they are rich in fructose and can also be cariogenic (cause tooth decay). As fructose in whole fruits pose little or no threat to dental health, whole fruits rather than fruit juices/smoothies should be consumed between meals.