More information on beverages

Tips for clever drink choices

  • 1. Drink 1-1.5 liters of liquids every day (5-8 portions) in addition to food
  • 2. When you get older, take care that you drink enough water on a daily basis
  • 3. In Finland ordinary tap water is the best thirst quencher
  • 4. Use skimmed milk, skimmed buttermilk, non-flavored or low sugar yogurt
  • 5. Drink coffee and tea without sugar
  • 6. Use sweet or sour drinks only occasionally, and preferably with food
  • 7. Children under 15 years of age are not recommended to use caffeine-containing beverages
  • 8. Alcoholic drinks are not for children, adlescents, pregnant women or for nursing mothers
  • 9. If you drink alcohol - be reasonable
  • 10. Teach yourself to read package labels


In Finland, tap water is the best drink to satisfy your hydration needs and to quench your thirst. You can also use bottled and packaged water and mineral waters if they do not contain sugar and/or acids that damage your teeth

Liquid dairy products

Dairy products are an important source of calcium, certain other minerals and B vitamins. Most liquid dairy products are also enriched with vitamin D. The recommended intake of milk or buttermilk that is fat free or contains no more than 1% of fat is some 500 ml with meals or as snacks. Plain and low-sugar yoghurts are also included in this amount. High-fat liquid dairy products add a lot of saturated fat to your diet, so they should not be used daily.

Flavoured milk and yoghurt drinks and the corresponding rice, soy and oat milk drinks are usually high in sugar. You should thus only use them occasionally. Also remember that chocolate drinks, which are popular with children, contain a lot of sugar.

Time your drinks wisely

Keeping to a regular daily pattern in both eating and drinking is a good idea. If you take drinks that contain sugar and/or acids, it is better to have them with your meals. This way you do not end up having them too often. Food additionally cushions the harmful effects of the acids. Remember also to watch your portion size. Between meals and snacks, you should drink water and coffee or tea without sugar.

It is important to make sure that older people, in particular, drink enough every day. When an older person eats very little, the easiest way of increasing his or her intake of liquids, energy and nutrients is to use drinks that contain them. These include liquid dairy products, milkshakes and full fruit juices. Some older people have no interest in drinks on their own. In that case they can take their liquids in fruity dessert soups, gruels, soups and other foods that contain a lot of liquids.

Coffee and tea

You can drink coffee and tea daily. Filtered coffee is a better choice than a traditional brew made in a coffee pot. If you add sugar, high-fat milk or cream, you will increase the energy content of your drink. This is why adding them to coffee and tea is not recommended. Flavoured coffee and tea drinks should also be only used occasionally.

People who are sensitive to caffeine should limit their coffee intake. Pregnant women are not advised to have more than three cups of coffee a day. Young people aged under 15 should not drink coffee or tea.

Tea also refers to different types of herbal teas that you can buy in ordinary supermarkets. Herbal tea products sold in natural food shops may contain substances that have powerful effects, so use them with care. They are not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women or young children.

Whole juices and nectars

You can have a maximum of 200 ml of whole juices (100% juice) and nectars a day, but they are not a substitute for eating fruit. As many whole juices contain natural sugars and acids, and many nectars also added sugar, they are not recommended as thirst-quenching drinks. Diluting them with water is a good idea.

Sugary soft drinks, squashes and juice drinks

Soft drinks, squashes and juice drinks that contain added sugar have no place in a healthy everyday diet. While they are high in energy, acids and, in case of cola drinks, also caffeine, they contain little or no essential nutrients.

Sugar-free drinks (light drinks)

No-calorie soft drinks and juice drinks, or light drinks, are better than those that contain energy. However, almost all of them have acids that are harmful for your teeth, and for this reason, they should also only be taken with meals. Light drinks contain little more additives than sugary drinks.

Cola drinks contain caffeine. They are thus not recommended for those who are sensitive to caffeine, pregnant women or young people aged under 15.

Energy, sports and health drinks

Energy, sports and health drinks are little different from similar sugary or sugar-free soft drinks. They are not suitable for thirst-quenching drinks. Because of their caffeine content, energy drinks are also not recommended for those sensitive to caffeine, pregnant women or young people aged under 15. One can of energy drink (0.3 l) contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Sports drinks may only be useful during and/or after long-distance training and competitions.

Read more about energy drinks:

Alcoholic beverages

Remember moderation when drinking alcohol. If you do drink, the maximum daily amount is one unit (some 12 g of ethanol) for women and two units (some 24 g of ethanol) for men. One unit means one small bottle of medium-strength beer, 12 cl of a low-alcohol wine or 4 cl of spirits. Watch the amounts you pour into your glass, as if you do not measure the units, you can easily make your drinks taller than what is recommended. Alcoholic drinks are high in energy. The sugars and acids contained in wines, ciders and long drink beverages are also harmful for your teeth.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children and young people are advised not to drink alcohol.

Drinking alcohol is particularly harmful for older people. As the hydration level of your body is lowered and your metabolism slows down with age, the impacts of alcohol on your body also grow stronger. Older people should not have more than one unit a day, and the weekly amounts should not exceed seven units. No-one should have more than three units in one go.