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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634

Abstract

RIVERA, Juan A et al. Beverage consumption for a healthy life: recommendations for the Mexican population. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2008, vol.50, n.2, pp. 173-195. ISSN 0036-3634.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-36342008000200011.

The Expert Committee in charge of developing the Beverage Consumption Recommendations for the Mexican Population was convened by the Secretary of Health for the purpose of developing evidence-based guidelines for consumers, health professionals, and government officials. The prevalence of overweight, obesity and diabetes have dramatically increased in Mexico; beverages contribute a fifth of all calories consumed by Mexicans. Extensive research has found that caloric beverages increase the risk of obesity. Taking into consideration multiple factors, including the health benefits, risks, and nutritional implications associated with beverage consumption, as well as consumption patterns in Mexico, the committee classified beverages into six levels. Classifications were made based on caloric content, nutritional value, and health risks associated with the consumption of each type of beverage and range from the healthier (level 1) to least healthy (level 6) options, as follows: Level 1: water; Level 2: skim or low fat (1%) milk and sugar free soy beverages; Level 3: coffee and tea without sugar; Level 4: non-caloric beverages with artificial sweeteners; Level 5: beverages with high caloric content and limited health benefits (fruit juices, whole milk, and fruit smoothies with sugar or honey; alcoholic and sports drinks), and Level 6: beverages high in sugar and with low nutritional value (soft drinks and other beverages with significant amounts of added sugar like juices, flavored waters, coffee and tea). The committee recommends the consumption of water as a first choice, followed by no or low-calorie drinks, and skim milk. These beverages should be favored over beverages with high caloric value or sweetened beverages, including those containing artificial sweeteners. Portion size recommendations are included for each beverage category and healthy consumption patterns for men and women are illustrated.

Keywords : water; coffee; milk; fruit juice; flavored water (agua fresca); alcohol; sweetened beverage; caloric beverages; beverage recommendations; Mexico.

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