Queenslanders warned against sports drinks

Queenslanders have been advised to avoid sugar-sweetened sports drinks, which may be contributing to the state’s burgeoning obesity epidemic.

Cancer Council warns some products may contain more than 13 teaspoons of sugar in one bottle – over twice the recommended daily intake.

Even smaller 380ml varieties of some sports drinks have between 8 and 13.5 teaspoons of sugar, with 19 teaspoons in a one-litre bottle of one of the most popular drinks.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift cautioned that all sugar-sweetened sports drinks should be avoided.

“The World Health Organization recommends consumers limit sugar consumption to no more than six teaspoons a day for optimum health,” Ms Clift said.

“Just a few sips of a sports drink could exceed that recommendation, undoing the benefits of an otherwise healthy diet and physical activity.

“Of great concern, some parents buy sports drinks for their kids after a weekend game of soccer or netball, conditioning young people to crave sugar.

“Weekly consumption of sports drinks can cause weight gain and increase a person’s risks of chronic diseases, including some cancers.

“We recommend all Queenslanders enjoy a well-balanced diet and drink eight glasses of water each day, avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages.

“People who lead sedentary lifestyles and don’t exercise should be particularly wary of eliminating these energy intensive sugar-laden drinks from their diet.

“Regular exercise and a healthy low-sugar diet is key to maintaining health and happiness.”

Cancer Council is urging all Queenslanders to stick with drinking water or unflavoured low-fat milk.

“Be wary of health claims on sports drinks like ‘contains vitamins’ or ‘quenches thirst’ – check the amount of sugar on the nutrition panel and the serving size,” Ms Clift said.

“Avoid the sports drink aisle at the shops, and curb your consumption by cutting out impulse buying.”

For more information on product formulation and sugar contents, go to rethinksugarydrink.org.au.

At least one-third of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle adjustments including eating a healthy diet, being physically active, reducing alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or www.cancerqld.org.au.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171