Most soft drinks and fruit juice you purchase from the supermarket or local shop have a sweet taste because of the amount of sugar they contain. Varying amounts of sugar are found in many of the popular brands and are contributing to excessive weight, poor dental health and feelings of lethargy within the general community.
Children are at an even greater risk if they consume moderate to high levels of sugary drinks.
A survey conducted in 1995 on Australian children discovered that 33 out of every 100 children had consumed soft drink the previous day. Ten years later (2005), another survey found that 78% of 12 to 17 year olds had consumed soft drink in the previous week. It seems that soft drink consumption is habit forming and posses a huge risk to the health of our children.
The latest and more concerning trend is the evolution of so called energy drinks. These drink are not only choc full of sugar but they also contain high amounts of caffeine. A catastrophic combination when concerned about the health of our kids.
It is important to note that many soft drinks are sold in larger sizes than a standard 375 ml. A good example of this is the Coke ‘Buddy’, which contains 600ml and was initially marketed as a bottle to share with friends…. hence the ‘buddy’ name. Energy drinks have followed suit and this needs to be monitored carefully. The upsizing of a meal at a fast food store will also see the quantity of soft drink provided increase dramatically.
So why is sugar unhealthy?
The human body turns the foods that we eat and drink into energy, to enable us to grow and function. Different drinks contain different amounts of ‘energy’ which we generally refer to as calories or kilojoules.
Soft drinks are often called ‘empty calories’ meaning they contain sugar, water and colouring and very little else. They provide little energy for your body to use but contain almost none of the vitamins and minerals your body requires to stay healthy.
Soft drinks can make you feel full for a half hour or so but then will result in you being hungrier than if you had had no soft drink at all.
To keep your body strong and healthy it is best to avoid soft drinks completely and instead drink water. Water will help with all bodily functions as well as help to quell hunger and cravings.
Eating fresh fruit is a better option than drinking fruit juice. If you are still thirsty after the consumption of fruit, drink a glass of water.
Below is a chart outlining the amount of sugar found in popular drinks:
600ml Cola: 16 – 20 teaspoons + caffeine
375 ml Regular Soft Drink: 13 teaspoons
600 ml Sports Drinks: 10 teaspoons
250 ml Energy Drink: 7 teaspoons
400 ml Fruit Juice: 10 teaspoons
250 ml Flavoured Milk: 6 teaspoons
300 ml Normal Full Fat Milk: 4 tsp
375 ml Carbonated Mineral Water: Nil
375 ml Water: Nil
Remember that you cannot beat water from both a hydration and health perspective.