New national figures show almost half of the 10 million Australians who are overweight or obese consume sweetened beverages, with some drinking more than a litre a day.
The Australian Health Survey Results for Sweetened Beverages shows consumption of intense-sweetened beverages is twice as high for those who are overweight or obese compared with Aussies who are underweight or a normal weight.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said there was a clear link between the overconsumption of sweetened beverages and rates of overweight and obesity.
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“Drinking too many sugary drinks can lead to overweight and obesity, increasing your risk of some cancers and other chronic diseases,” Ms Clift said.
“The survey shows consumption of sweetened beverages increases with age across childhood, peaking among teenagers aged 14-18 years.
“The top 10 per cent highest consumers of sweetened beverages drank more than one litre of sugary drinks on the day prior to the survey.
“Males aged 19-30 years drank up to 1.5 litres of sweetened beverages in just one day.
“The World Health Organisation recommends limiting sugar consumption from both food and drinks to no more than six teaspoons a day for optimum health.
“Just a few sips of a sweetened beverage could exceed that recommendation, undoing the benefits of an otherwise healthy diet.
“It’s crucial for all Queenslanders to enjoy a well-balanced diet – drink eight glasses of water each day and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
“Regular exercise and a healthy low-sugar diet is key to maintaining health and happiness.”
Cancer Council recommends all Queenslanders drink water or unflavoured low-fat milk.
“Of concern, consumption of flavoured mineral waters, which are also sweetened with sugar, was equal to soft drink consumption as the most commonly consumed sweetened beverage in the study,” Ms Clift said.
“Flavoured mineral water may seem like a healthier choice than a soft drink – but many of these drinks also contain high sugar contents.
“Read the labels and aim for six teaspoons of sugar or less for your health – that’s a total daily energy intake of 24 grams of sugar from food and drinks combined.”