Submitted by Nadia Guirguis, Registered Dietitian, Population and Public Health

Did you know the new Canada’s Food Guide recommends making water your drink of choice?

Why water?

Water is important for our health. Approximately 65 per cent of our body is composed of water. It helps regulate our body temperature, moves nutrients through our cells and flushes waste from our bodies. The best way to quench your thirst without adding any extra calories is to always reach for water.

If you don’t already drink enough water, here are some ideas to encourage you to have more:

  • Choose to drink water with your meals
  • Sip water during the day while at your workstation or in meetings
  • Carry a reusable water bottle when you are out
  • For variety, try a fruit or herb infused water or unsweetened carbonated water

What about sugar sweetened beverages and fruit juice?

Sugary drinks include fruit juices and any drinks containing added sugars including: soft drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks and punches, iced tea, sports and energy drinks, flavoured waters with added sugars, sweetened milks, sweetened plant-based beverages like soy, rice or almond milks, sweetened hot or cold tea or coffee, hot chocolate, and other specialty drinks.

The new Canada Food Guide advises against drinking juice because it is naturally high in sugar, even without extra sugar added.  It is healthier to eat fruit and drink water rather than drink fruit juices, even 100 per cent unsweetened fruit juices.

When it comes to sugary drinks:

  • Less is best. The number and size of drinks affects the amount of sugar you consume, so if you do have a sugary drink, have a small one.
  • Sugar provides calories but has no other nutritional value. Consuming sugary drinks may replace drinking the nutritious drinks and food our bodies need to be healthy. For example, children who drink pop regularly are more likely to have lower intakes of milk which has the calcium they need to build and maintain strong bones.Make water and milk your drinks of choice.
  • Sugary drinks contribute to tooth decay and may be linked to an increased risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease. Reduce your sugar intake by drinking water instead.

Take the drink challenge

If water is already your drink of choice and you’re drinking few or no sugary drinks – congratulations! If you drink sugary drinks, your goal should be to decrease the number or size of sugary drinks you consume and to drink water instead.

For the next seven days record the number of cups (one cup is 250 ml or 8 oz.) of sugary drinks you have and how much water you drank each day. See if you can improve your water intake – and your health.

Remember sugary drinks can come in sizes larger than 250 ml. For example: An iced tea bottle measuring 591 ml is actually 2.3 cups of sugary drink (divide by 250 ml) and a 375 ml juice container is actually 1.5 cups of sugary drink.




Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Sugary drinks (per 250 ml)








Did you drink water today?








Source: Health Canada Canada’s New Food Guide 2019

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