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Health groups warn on sugary drinks:

Price promotions on sugary, frozen drinks are putting children’s health on the line.
By Motherpedia
Date: February 07 2015
Tags: sugar drinks,
Editor Rating:

New research conducted by Rethink Sugary Drink (a partnership between the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation) has revealed how popular convenience stores and fast food chains tempt consumers using price incentives such as three cent Slurpees when you buy another item and large Frozen Cokes for just $1, as well as gimmicks such as the option to add popping candy to your icy drink.

According to the research, 7-Eleven’s Mega Slurp Slurpee with popping candy ‘shocks’ is the biggest sugar culprit, serving up a whopping 25 teaspoons (101g) of sugar, while McDonald’s Frozen Sprite Splash with popping candy delivers around 18 teaspoons (73g) of sugar.

Chair of the Public Health Committee at the Cancer Council Australia, Craig Sinclair, said that many consumers don’t realise that although the price is low, the health impact can be significant if regularly consumed.

“During the summer months when some stores charge just three cents on Mondays for an icy drink or $1 for a large one, these incredibly cheap and creative offers can be difficult for both children and adults to resist,” Mr Sinclair said.

“But with up to 25 teaspoons of sugar in one cup, these frozen drinks deliver a sugar hit far in excess of what is recommended for good health.

"All of those extra kilojoules, can lead to weight gain over the longer term, putting you at risk of serious long-term health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease and stroke. They could really cost you your health in the long run.”

Dr Peter Alldritt, Chairman of the Australian Dental Association Oral Health Committee, says the high sugar and acid content in frozen drinks also contributes significantly to tooth decay.

“The high sugar content in frozen drinks can harm your oral health, leading to tooth decay. They also have high acid levels that dissolve the outer surface of tooth enamel which weakens the tooth’s protective mechanism placing it more at risk,” Dr Alldritt says.

“Once dental enamel is destroyed, it is gone for good.

“They might seem like an inexpensive and fun way to cool down, but the long term cost can be serious. If you go with water or low-fat milk, your teeth will thank you.”

Rethink Sugary Drink researchers found that many outlets do not disclose the true sugar content of their large serving sizes, making it even more difficult for consumers to make informed purchases.

“Some brands make nutrition information difficult to access. For 7-Eleven’s Slurpee Mega Slurp, the sugar content is listed on product websites for 100g volume, while Hungry Jacks displays nutritional information for a 290g serve, but the true amount of sugar per cup can be much greater than this,” Mr Sinclair says.

“Our researchers had to take kitchen scales into stores to weigh the cups and multiply the sugar content to estimate the total sugar delivered.” 

Approximate amounts of sugar in popular frozen drinks

Frozen drink

Sugar per serve+

Would take to burn off*

7-Eleven Slurpee Mega Slurp (Cola) with ‘Slurpee Shocks’ popping candy

25 tsp (101g)

1.5 hours walking 

McDonald’s Bubble Gum Frozen Sprite Splash with popping candy

18 tsp (73g)

65 minutes walking

Hungry Jacks Extra Large Frozen Coke

18 tsp (71g)

63 minutes walking

Donut King Fruit Freeze Strawberry (Regular)

14 tsp (55g)

48 mins walking


 + Based on 4g of sugar per teaspoon

*  Based on a an 80kg person walking at medium pace (5km per hour). Source: MyFitnessPal

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