Public health experts have warned that Queenslanders who drink a can of soft drink per day could gain nearly seven kilograms in one year, worsening the state’s obesity crisis.
Evidence suggests that consuming one can of 340ml soft drink per day could lead to a 6.75kg weight gain in one year, if calories are not offset by exercise or a reduction in overall energy intake.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift called on health authorities and the community to work together to limit the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.
“About 12 per cent of adults and eight per cent of children drink soft drink daily in Queensland, with consumption much higher among males, at about 18 per cent daily, compared to 10 per cent for females.
“One 600ml bottle of a soft drink, sports drink, or energy drink contains up to 16 teaspoons of sugar and over 250 calories or 1000 kilojoules.
“Unfortunately not enough Queenslanders offset these calories with adequate exercise, resulting in overweight and obesity,” Ms Clift said.
Strategies recommended by the Cancer Council include a ban on soft drink vending machines and marketing of soft drinks to children.
“Regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with significant health problems including obesity, some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“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 couple of sips of a sugary drink could exceed that recommendation, undoing the benefits of an otherwise healthy diet.
“The average person would need to run at least 21kms a week or walk for 5.5 hours to burn off the calories in one 600ml bottle of soft drink every day.
“To offset just one 600ml drink, a person would need to run 3km.
“It’s crucial for all Queenslanders to enjoy a well-balanced diet – drink eight glasses of water each day and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages including sports drinks, soft drinks, cordial, energy drinks and iced tea.
“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 for optimum health.
“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,” Ms Clift said.
“Try infusing your water with mint, fresh lime and cucumber, fresh strawberries, or orange and mint for something different.
“Or for a really refreshing beverage, try making ice cubes out of frozen fresh fruit and add them to soda water or cold tap water.”
Queenslanders can find out more about burning off their sugary drink habits at rethinksugarydrink.com.au.
Queenslanders aged 18 and over are invited to test their everyday health via Cancer Council’s Everyday Health Survey, open online at cancerqld.org.au/everydayhealthsurvey until 29 February.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.