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Spotlight on sugary drinks  *NEW

Date: January 20, 2021
Time to read: 5 min
Published in:

On hot summer days, it is nice to cool down with a refreshing drink.  When we talk about ‘refreshing drinks’ – what is the first drink that comes to mind?  Maybe it’s an ice-cold Cola?  Or is it one of those $1 slushies you see advertised on the side of the bus or at the bus stop?  Chances are water is not top of mind.  This is because the drinks industry pours millions of dollars into marketing their sugary products – especially over the summer months to entice us to buy.  The majority of the ‘refreshing’ drinks advertised are packed full of sugar and can actually make us thirstier!   

What are sugary drinks?    

Sugary drinks are all water-based non-alcoholic drinks with added sugar such as soft drinks, slushies, energy drinks, sports drinks, cordials, iced tea, flavoured water and fruit drinks. Dietitians refer to these drinks as having ’empty kilojoules’. This means they provide little to no nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals, but are high in kilojoules (calories) and sugar.   

Do you know how much sugar is in these drinks?  

Soft drinks – the average 600mL soft drink has 16 teaspoons of sugar.  Would you eat 16 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting?  

Slushies  –  summertime often means slushie season. Often slushies are marketed to capture kid’s attention with their colourful options and tend to be inexpensive.  Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends – a 375 mL slushy can contain more than 13 teaspoons of sugar!    

Energy drinks – the average 600mL energy drink has 13 teaspoons of sugar plus caffeine equal to 1½ shots of espresso.    

Sports drinks –  don’t believe the heavy marketing that these are a ‘healthy’ drink that sportspeople consume to keep hydrated.  The average 600mL serve has around 9 teaspoons of sugar.    

Iced tea – as refreshing as iced tea can be on a hot day, commercial drinks can contain 6 teaspoons of sugar per 500mL serve.  Best to make your own, and it’s easier on the wallet!  

Flavoured water – don’t be fooled by ‘flavoured water’, some varieties still contain 5 teaspoons of sugar per 500 mL serve.  

Tap water – with zero sugar it’s the healthiest drink choice and best of all it’s free!  

Sip smarter  

So rather than reaching out for a sugary drink try these ideas:    

  • Water flavoured with slices of lemon, cucumber, strawberries or mint. You could even add some berries or cucumber slices to a bottle of water and freeze.    
  • Milk blended with frozen fruit such as our berrylicious smoothie  or our green smoothie are refreshing choices packed full of protein, calcium and vitamins.  
  • Make a pot of herbal tea (with no added sugar) in the morning and once cooled, keep in the fridge ready to drink.  
  • Fruit and vegies are full of fluid, so on hot days try oranges, watermelon, rockmelon or cucumber sticks.     
  • Frappes made with ice and blended frozen fruit make for a nice treat and are also packed with fibre. Take a look at our refreshing Summer Fruit Frappe video below:

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