The case against sugar-sweetened soft drinks is shaping up as a significant new health frontier.
On one side, the drinks industry promotes products as a harmless, fun-filled part of a normal diet.
On the other side, are the health groups whose job it is to warn the public that sugary drinks are fuelling an obesity epidemic that has disastrous implications for general health and risks later-life heart disease and diabetes.
The facts are alarming. One standard soft drink, consumed by most children without a second thought, hides in it 16 teaspoons of sugar. A daily dose of this can lead to a weight gain of more than 6kg a year.
Soft drinks in America are now the largest single source of calories in the US diet, accounting for more than 7 per cent of total daily energy intake.
Australia is not far behind, although they are not quite so hooked on the super-sized drinks that ordinary Americans consume without effort.
In New York, the health lobby has prevailed to the point of restricting the sale of gargantuan sugary drinks that deliver obscene amounts of kilojoules.
Of course anyone intent on over-consuming can and will do so by going to a second outlet and buying another but the message is there.
In Australia there are three leading health groups, the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation, that have joined forces to inquire into taxing soft drinks and looking at other American-style restrictions on sales.
They are also pushing for government support for a public education campaign to ensure children drink mainly water and low-fat milk – not Coke.
It is widely accepted that it is best not to eat foods in which sugar is the main ingredient; this includes soft drinks, cordials and lollies which are primarily sugar and lack additional nutritional value.
The focus so far has been on the risk to dental health from the frequent consumption of acidic and sugary drinks which are a key factor in the deteriorating dental health of Australian children.
If you or your children indulge in sugary drinks it is important to keep up with routine cleanings. Contact Glasscock Dental for more information.
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