Media Release

19 October 2012

Australian Beverages Council responds to latest study on added sugars intake for young Australians

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the Australian non-alcoholic beverage industry, has responded to the recent study results announced at the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) conference in Auckland yesterday regarding added sugar consumption in young Australians.
“Energy balance, that is the amount of kilojoules consumed from the total diet and that expended through physical activity, is the important issue. The study’s focus on added sugars detracts from the issue of overweight and obesity from the real dietary issue – lowering energy (kilojoule) intake from any energy source – fat, protein, starch or sugars” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.
Putting the ANZOS research findings into context, the same dietary survey used for the study (2007 Kids Eat, Kids Play) found that beverages including sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks contributed a relatively small and declining proportion of total energy intake amongst Australian children:

o Total beverage category (non-alcoholic, non-dairy) was a relatively small contributor to total energy intake in children and has declined from 7.4% in 1995 to 5.4% in 2007

o Sugar-sweetened soft drinks contributed 1.6% of total energy intake in 2007 which is half that back in 1995 (3.3%).

“All kilojoules count and it is the total diet and all foods and beverages consumed that should be the focus of healthy eating, not just the “added sugars” content. The industry produces a range of hydration options to suit everybody’s lifestyle and all beverages can be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet supported by regular physical activity” Mr Parker said.

• There are no quantitative recommendations for ‘added sugars’ intake in Australia and no agreed international consensus on the intake of ‘added sugars’ in children or adolescents.

• While the Australian researchers have referenced WHO guidelines – “10% energy as added sugars” guideline which is based on a 2003 WHO Report to minimise the risk of dental caries, a recent report by the Institute of Medicine in 2005 recommended no more than 25% of energy from “added sugars” (based on maintaining nutrient adequacy).

• In relation to dental caries, sugars and cooked starches (eg bread, pasta) are fermentable carbohydrates that can increase the risk of tooth decay in the absence of good oral hygiene. There is broad consensus that the frequency of sugars and starches consumption is far more important than the actual amount that is consumed, when considering risk of tooth decay.

• The recent National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Systematic Literature Review (2011) found that the evidence base is weak and inconsistent for a link between added sugars and obesity.
Media contact: Geoff Parker – CEO, Australian Beverages Council, Mobile: 0407 646 195

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