27 October, 2015

Sugar restriction: The need for a common sense approach

The Australian Beverages Council has responded to calls from Robert Lustig to restrict children’s sugar intake, following his study which investigated a possible link between sugar consumption and metabolic syndrome.

Geoff Parker, CEO of the Beverages Council says: “What is important is to consume a variety of food and beverages in moderation. That can include those containing sugar, which can be part of a balanced lifestyle as long as you are not having too much. To single out sugar sweetened beverages as the leading factor of chronic disease oversimplifies a complex public health issue. For children under 18 just 1.9 per cent of the daily intake of kilojoules comes from soft drinks¹.

A recent report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that Australians’ consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is on the decline. Further research shows that nearly one in two water-based drinks consumed are now non-sugar varieties. This has led to a substantial 17% decline in the sugar contribution from our beverages in the Australian diet².

“Simply restricting one food or beverage will not override the importance of a common sense approach to children’s diet and overall health. Most Australian parents agree that information programs promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle are the most effective way to tackle childhood health problems like obesity, not elimination or restrictions.

“We know that all kilojoules count, including those from beverages. We need to focus on the sensible, pragmatic management of our children’s nutrition, not drastic and unsustainable dietary measures as suggested by the latest anti-sugar crusader.”

Media contact:
Geoff Parker – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council
+61 (0)407 646 195

The Australian Beverages Council is the peak body for the non-alcoholic beverages industry and represents 95% of the industry’s production volume through membership.

1  Secondary analysis of non-alcoholic beverage consumption from the Australian National Health Survey, commissioned by the Australian Beverages Council and undertaken by the CSIRO
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015, Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages. Taken from: Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12, cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.
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