Health Would seeing 16 teaspoons of sugar stop you buying that soft drink?

02:34  12 july  2018
02:34  12 july  2018 Source:   canberratimes.com.au

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Sugary drinks can contain as much as 16 teaspoons of sugar.© Viki Lascaris Sugary drinks can contain as much as 16 teaspoons of sugar.

Australian shoppers would see a confronting 16 teaspoons of sugar on the label of a 600-millilitre Coca-Cola bottle if the federal government adopted one of the more contentious options in its new sugar-labelling paper.

The federal government has released a consultation paper containing seven possible ways it can boost "contextual information about sugars" on food and drink labels to help consumers make healthier choices and curb soaring obesity rates.

Health and consumer groups have backed four: Lumping all sugar-based ingredients under "added sugars" in the ingredients list; explicitly stating the amount of added sugar in the nutritional information panel; "pictorially" displaying the amount of added sugar on front-of-pack; and displaying advisory labels on extremely sugary products.

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He claims that there are 5 or 6 teaspoons of sugar in a soft drink and I cannot see how that is possible. Therefore, a 16 -ounce serving of one of these beverages contains 12 teaspoons of sugar .

Damon ate 40 teaspoons of hidden sugars a day from commonly percieved 'healthy' foods (THAT SUGAR FILM). For 60 days I would maintain the same level of exercise that I already did and I would eat no chocolate, ice cream, soft drink or confectionery.

"This is about transparency. I think people will be surprised by how much added sugar is in a healthy food like yoghurt or breakfast cereals," Alexandra Jones, a public health lawyer at the George Institute for Global Health, said.

“Added sugars are empty calories and a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic, rising rates of type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.”

Choice has long campaigned for added sugar to be clearly shown on food packs.© Choice Choice has long campaigned for added sugar to be clearly shown on food packs.

The World Health Organization said no more than 10 per cent of total daily energy intake should come from added sugars, and the Australian Dietary Guidelines urges everyone to limit their intake of food and drinks with added sugar.

But manufacturers are "disguising" sugar using as many as 42 different terms - such as dextrose, treacle and muscovado - making it difficult for consumers to discern between added and naturally occurring sugars, according to Choice.

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Some energy drinks contain as many as 16 teaspoons of sugar - that's more than twice an adult's recommended daily sugar intake. For some children and teenagers soft drinks contribute to 30 per cent and 40 per cent of their overall sugar intake, respectively.

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The consultation paper, prepared by the Food Regulation Standing Committee at the request of state and federal health ministers in November last year, acknowledged "information about added sugars on food labels is limited, which limits consumers’ ability to make informed choices".

The other three options are: maintaining the status quo; educating consumers on how to read and interpret labelling information; and providing a "digital link" to a website.

Ms Jones said Australia should follow America's lead and require manufacturers to show added sugar information on nutritional information panels and ingredients lists.

"The second, fifth and 10th ingredient could be sugar under different names, so grouping these together would let us see it's the No.1 ingredient at a glance," she said.

"In regards to showing teaspoons, it needs to work with other initiatives such as the Health Star Ratings (HSR). It might work well for drinks, but we don't want all the focus to be on sugar and allow it to detract from HSR."

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The average intake was 76.7 grams per day, which equals 19 teaspoons or 306 calories. Soft drinks : Sugar -sweetened beverages are unhealthy. READ MORE. 14 Simple Ways to Stop Eating Lots of Sugar .

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This product from the US shows a nutritional information panel specifying added sugar.© George Institute for Global Health This product from the US shows a nutritional information panel specifying added sugar.

Choice said visual labelling using teaspoons on sugary drinks was a must.

“Some teenagers are consuming 38 teaspoons of added sugar per day, equivalent to the sugar in four cans of Coke," Choice's Katinka Day said.

“It’s essential that we have labelling that allows people to easily identify the high level of sugar in these products, rather than letting companies get away with hiding this information."

Choice's research found consumers would be able to avoid 26 teaspoons of sugar each day - and up to 38.3 kilograms a year - if they could identify added sugars on food packs.

Jane Martin from the Obesity Policy Coalition said she also wanted to see advisory labels on foods that exceeded a predetermined threshold for added sugars, especially for sugary drinks.

"Studies have shown that text warning labels are among the most impactful, sugar information was less impactful but it had an effect," she said.

"Australian adults consume around 15 teaspoons of added sugar per day, with teenage boys averaging 23 teaspoons a day – and the biggest source of added sugar in the diet is sugary drinks."

The Australian Food and Grocery Council said it would assess the options, particularly in light of the successful adoption of HSR.

“The amount of total sugars still remains the overwhelming core piece of consumer information because the body does not distinguish between naturally occurring and added sugars from a nutritional point of view," a spokesman said.

Australian Beverages, which last month vowed to slash sugar by 20 per cent in seven years, said it couldn't comment.

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