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REPORTER: Helen Wellings
BROADCAST DATE: May 23, 2003

The average Australian tooth is a sweet one; one in five people buy five soft drink cans or bottles in their fortnightly supermarket shop, at a total of around $10. But just how much sugar is in our soft drinks?

Our soft-drink consumption ranks about fifth in the world in terms of per capita consumption, according to Tony Gentile, of the Australasian Soft Drink Association.

Mr Gentile says of the soft drinks we buy, 75 per cent are sweetened, 21.8 per cent are diet drinks and just 3.2 per cent are non-sweetened carbonated mineral and soda water.

Most popular by far is Coke; its sales are three times higher than Diet Coke, six times more than Sprite and nine times more than Fanta.

But ask how the sugar in soft drinks affects our health and the opinions are poles apart.

"We don't believe soft drinks have a huge impact," Mr Gentile said.

But obesity specialist, Dr Simon Clark, says excessive consumption of soft drinks is not recommended, given the high levels of obesity in Australia.

"A lot of people and children presume they can drink soft drink everyday and we have a society that's seriously overweight and obese," he said.

So how much sugar do they contain?

There is no legal limit on the amount of sugar in soft drinks but it does have to be stated in the nutrition information panel.

"We use Queensland and NSW sugar in our soft drinks in Australia," Mr Gentile said.

We tested a range of popular soft drinks to compare the sugar levels, not only in the canned and bottled supermarket brands but also the post-mixed soft drinks from cinema chains, fast-food outlets, pubs and clubs.

We compared the colas, Lift, Fanta, Mountain Dew, lemonade, Solo, Sprite and Sunkist.

We found sugar levels were reasonably uniform between a canned or bottled and the post-mixed sample, varying only by 3.5 per cent at the most.

Sugar levels:

* Our tests showed the soft drink with the highest sugar level was consistently Fanta, containing around 14%.
* Our Mountain Dew samples averaged 12.85%.
* Schweppes Lemonade averaged 12.65%.
* The supermarket variety had 3.3% less sugar than a pub drink.
* Sunkist contained 12.6% sugar.
* Lift and 7Up both contained 12%.
* The supermarket's 7Up was 3% sweeter than our Pizza Hut sample.
* Solo, Pepsi and Coke contained around 11.5%.
* The supermarket's Coke had up to 3% less sugar than pub samples.
* Sprite, at 10.4%, had consistently the lowest sugar content of all, apart from our Diet Colas, which contained none.

But Dr Clark believes with 65 per cent of Australian men and 50 per cent of women overweight, we should be steering away from sugared drinks.

"That's a lot of sugar, a lot of calories; you put your insulin up high, stall your nutrients - you don't need that," he said.

"I think they're party food and as such you have them at parties. Once every one to two weeks you can have a soft drink."

But Mr Gentile thinks that's extreme.

"Soft drinks don't contribute to obesity; we have soft-drinks with no sweetness," he said.

"The issue is selecting soft drinks that suit your dietary needs."

Mr Gentile says children consume only two per cent of their total calories from soft drinks and believes they are part of a normal diet.

But Dr Clark believes it may be time to re-educate palates so we can be more discerning about what we eat and drink.

Specialist in preventive dentistry, Professor Wendall Evans, says it's not so much whether we drink soft drinks; it's how and when we do it that determines tooth decay.

"If it's swallowed quickly then there's less damage," he said.

Professor Evans recommends brushing your teeth twice daily.

"We have to avoid frequent between-meal sippings of soft drinks," he said.

"As long as the juice goes quickly over your teeth it's not so dangerous. It's the swishing around and being in contact with the teeth, so if you drink with a straw and it goes nowhere near your teeth then it's not so dangerous."

Source: http://todaytonight.com.au/stories/570412.html
 

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Thanks Matt! Interesting read - as you probably know I'm trying to change my eating habits. Since vanilla coke came out I had been drinking so much of it. I used to only drink diet coke. But since I bought a book that lists all calories in food, and I found out how much soft drink has, I cut it out all together!
 

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So Diet Coke contains no sugar :confused: coz it seems like Diet Coke tastes so sweet....
 

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Vanilla coke :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: I'm addicted to it and I'm soooooo glad that the UK finally got it. I was getting withdrawal symptoms.

I like how the sweetness hits the top of my mouth and flows right down and MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm :bounce:
 

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Luna_Angel_84 said:
Drink Diet Vanilla Coke! :D
lol unfortunately, we don't have Diet Vanilla Coke! :sad: Otherwise I'd drink it! ;)
 

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DiVaMoNiCaSeLeS said:
Vanilla coke :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: I'm addicted to it and I'm soooooo glad that the UK finally got it. I was getting withdrawal symptoms.

I like how the sweetness hits the top of my mouth and flows right down and MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm :bounce:
lol I thought I'd go through Vanilla Coke withdrawal when I come to Europe, but since I don't drink it anymore, I don't have to worry about it! ;)
 

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I like Sprite a lot as well. That's great for when you are *really* thirsty and you drink it and get all refreshed and yeah... I drink too much sugary crap. No wonder I have cavaties.
 

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I hate Vanilla Coke...nasty....and drinking Sprite is a lot of fun cause it feels REALLY good to guzzle it when your really thirsty...but I always seem to be thirsty after I drink it anyway! =(
 

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i LOVE all soft drinks.....my favourite at the mo is 'bundaberg ginger beer'(of which im consuming as i type) -its a bit more healthy than coke.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I also drink Sprite as well!! ;) I totally agree with DiVaMoNiCaSeLeS about refreshed!! ;)
 
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