Sugary drinks pile on the kilos

link to article Sugary drinks pile on the kilos

West Australians are drinking themselves fat, with some putting on more than 6kg and spending $1000 each year by having just one sugary drink a day, according to health experts.

It is not just soft drinks in the firing line, with evidence that a daily serve of fruit juice, energy drink or sports drink can add up to 23kg of sugar over a year.

The next phase of the LiveLighter anti-obesity campaign being launched today warns that while fatty food is mostly blamed for the two-thirds of West Australians who are overweight or obese, hidden sugar in drinks is now a big culprit.

It highlights that a 375ml can of soft drink contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and having one a day can lead to a 6.5kg weight gain over a year, at a cost of more than $1000.

Upsizing to a 600ml bottle of soft drink adds 16 teaspoons of sugar to the waistline each time.

Experts from the WA Health Department, Heart Foundation and Cancer Council say Australia is ranked in the top 10 countries for consumption of sugary drinks but many people are unaware of the excessive kilojoules they drink.

Melbourne University global health expert Rob Moodie said diets and exercise patterns had changed significantly in a relatively short time.

“We are eating and drinking ourselves fat at the same time as not exercising to compensate,” he said. “Sugary drinks are empty kilojoules in that they don’t provide us with nutrition, just extra kilojoules.”

Professor Moodie said sugar-laden drinks were heavily marketed and he accused the food industry of using similar tactics to promote unhealthy foods as the tobacco industry had long used for cigarettes.

Although it was important people took responsibility for what they put in their mouth, governments needed to address issues of advertising and price.

LiveLighter campaign director Maria Szybiak said print, radio and TV advertisements would drive home that the consumption of sugary drinks was leading to higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

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