It’s no secret that we shouldn’t be drinking sugary drinks.
As more and more research investigates the ill effects of regular consumption of soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and cordials, it may be time for you to give it up, or at least reduce the amount you consume on a daily or weekly basis.
A regular 600ml bottle of soft drink contains no nutritional benefits, but around 16 teaspoons of sugar, and drinking one can of sugary drink a day can lead to 6.5kgs of weight gain in a year.
Cancer Council Queensland has long called for multiple initiatives to tackle obesity, which includes introducing a 20 per cent levy on sugary drinks and restricting marketing of sugary drinks to children.
Excess sugar consumption increases the risk of being overweight or obese, which is a key risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Plus, new research from Cancer Council Victoria and University of Melbourne has revealed that regardless of body size, drinking sugary soft drinks can increase cancer risk.
According to the study, published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, people who regularly drank sugary soft drinks were found to be more at-risk of several types of cancer than those who didn’t.
With 64 per cent of adults and 26 per cent of children overweight or obese in Queensland it is more important than ever for Queensland people and organisations to rethink sugary drinks, and work towards reducing their presence within workplaces, schools, at community events and in their own daily lives.
You might jump straight in and go sugary drink free.
Alternatively, you might begin by adopting a range of strategies to slowly reduce sugary drinks and encourage alternatives.
For workplaces this may include looking at vending machines in your building, lobbying to have them stocked with plain or sparkling water options at eye level, and considering other options if you currently provide sugary soft drinks at functions or meetings.
When organising events, try working with vendors to increase the price of sugary drinks relative to other options, ensure only water is included in meal deals, or offer incentives for vendors who agree to go sugary drink free, such as extra signage or site space.
On an individual level, we can all decrease our intake – carry a water bottle when out and about, so you don’t have to buy a drink if you become thirsty, remove sugary drinks from your house to avoid temptation, swap cordial for water with fresh fruit, and be wary of any health or nutrition claims on the drinks you buy.
To find out if the drinks you are consuming are bad for your health refer to the amount of sugar on the nutrition panel and consider the size of the bottle as well.
Regardless of the approach you choose, by rethinking sugary drinks you will be joining a movement that is seeing organisations, health and education services, sporting clubs and community events going sugary drink free and helping to normalise healthier choices.
To help Queenslanders make the healthy choice, the easy choice – Queenslanders can get involved with Cancer Council’s free cancer prevention program QUEST, by visiting www.quest.org.au.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or via 13 11 20.
Ms Chris McMillan
CEO, Cancer Council Queensland