It’s time to rethink that sugary drink

The next time you reach for a sugary drink, stop and think about the damage it’s doing to your body – and your wallet.

Sugary drinks and sugar are not only bad for your health, but they are also an unnecessary cost. And that cost adds up over time.

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch the sugary drinks and reach for tap water instead, which is healthy, free and doesn’t contain any sugar.

Drinks such as fizzy, fruit and sports drinks contain a surprising amount of sugar. For example, a 600ml bottle of fizzy drink contains around 16 teaspoons of sugar. Fruit drinks may seem healthy but are very high in added sugar. Check out this poster showing you how much sugar is in different drinks.

Consuming sugary drinks increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay in children and adults. Children who drink one or more sugary drinks per day are 50–60% more likely to be overweight or obese than kids who do not.

Here are some top tips to help you and your whānau cut back on sugary drinks:

1. Stop buying sugary drinks

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the best way to cut back on sugary drinks is to stop buying them. This helps you and your whānau stick to healthy drink options such as tap water and plain milk. Keep away from the sugary drink aisle in the supermarket to avoid temptation. They may be on special a lot, but water at home is cheaper.

2. Be prepared when you go out

When you go out, take a refilled (non-plastic if possible) water bottle for each family member so you have a healthy option available and aren’t tempted to buy sugary drinks if you get thirsty. This will also save you lots of money, especially in summer when it’s hot.

3. Use a drink bottle for school

Make sure your child has a re-useable drink bottle for school and fill it up with water only. If they run out at school, they can fill it up from the water fountain.

4. Watch out for takeaway drinks

If you’re ordering takeaways or fast food and it automatically comes with a sugary drink, ask for it to be replaced with water.

5. Offer non-sugary options only

If you have people coming around or are preparing meals for your family, only offer non-sugary drink options. You can spice up water any time, or for a special occasion, by adding some ice and a slice of lemon, lime, strawberry or other type of delicious fruit.

6. Be careful of “healthy” claims

Watch out for packaging and health claims written on some drinks. They might claim to be “healthy” or “contain vitamins”, but they could also be high in sugar so always check the nutrition label.

7. Reduce sugar in hot drinks

If you have sugar in your coffee or tea, cut it back gradually until you aren’t adding any sugar at all. Herbal teas are a tasty option and have no added sugar.

8. Cut back on alcohol

Some alcoholic drinks are high in sugar so choose a lower sugar option or try cutting back on how much you drink. Be careful what you mix your alcohol with because fizzy drink or soda will increase your sugar intake. Too much bubbly water is also bad for your teeth, so go easy on that, too!

9. Get your community involved

Ask your school or local sports club to remove sugary drink options from the canteen and vending machines.

10. Water at sporting events

If you or your child play sport, water is the best option for rehydration. Sports drinks are high in sugar and acid and not necessary to drink, unless you do extreme sports. 

References

  1. Sugary drinks Toi Te Ora, NZ
  2. At home fact sheet Rethink sugary drink, Australia
  3. Rethink sugary drink, Australia
  4. Sugary drinks NZ Dental Association