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Industry labels Rethink Sugary Drinks Campaign "misguided"

18 January, 2013

The Australian Beverages Council has responded to the recent launch of the Rethink Sugary Drinks campaign being led by the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council and Diabetes Australia that aims to reduce Australians' intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.

"The past work of the alliance partners in addressing a range of public health issues should be acknowledged. In regards to their latest efforts the Industry thinks the campaign is misguided.

"Focusing on a single source of kilojoules in the diet hasn't worked in the past and ignores the concept of the total diet. No one food or beverage causes overweight or obesity. Consuming more kilojoules than what is burnt through physical activity is what leads to weight gain," said the council's CEO Geoff Parker.

"Over the last decade the Australian beverage industry has taken a proactive approach to being part of the solution in addressing the complex and multi-factorial issue of obesity. The industry has voluntarily: restricted marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages to children under 12 years of age; clearly labelled the kilojoules on a per serve basis on the front label of cans and bottles; reformulated products to include a wide range of low and no kilojoule options; restricted sales of sugar-sweetened soft drinks to primary schools and complied with all relevant school canteen guidelines."

Recently released results from the World Health Organisation (WHO) study on sugar intake and weight status concludes that it's the calories (kilojoules) that count and not anything unique about sugar, that contributes to weight gain. Swapping sugar for other forms of carbohydrate, such as that from starches and grains, will not stop weight gain.

"All kilojoules count regardless of the source. 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," Parker concluded.

Source: Australian Beverages Council

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Ken Goldsmith | Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 9:49 AM
Disappointing. It is common knowledge that sugar is "empty calories", with no nutritional value, whereas the grains in bevvies such as beer and stout have nutritional benefit. "There is a steak and two eggs in every glass of stout", and it is prescribed as a tonic in some UK/Ire hospitals. The drink companies may not activly market to under 12s, but that would have negligible effect on under 12s drink consumption. We all need to reduce our sugar intake, but be careful of what sugar substitutes you consume, some of them are faster poisons than sugar. Educate the taste buds to not want drinks and sweets to be so sweet.
Mark Elrick | Friday, January 25, 2013, 12:25 PM
Predictable and self serving. Yes, if you substitute sugar with other carbs you won't lose weight, but let's address that when and if it happens. This is hypothetical nonsense trying to pass for reasoned argument.