Why we should act
Robust scientific evidence shows that sugary drinks are a major contributor to excess sugar consumption and a risk factor for poor dental health, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Prominent health and education institutions in Australia and around the world are leading the way in efforts to minimise the harms caused by the consumption of excess sugar. Many are starting with their own communities, focusing on sugary drinks, given these products offer no nutritional value beyond contributing hugely to sugar intake.
In the US, the University of California San Francisco through the support of their Chancellor launched a Healthy Beverage Initiative, phasing out sugary drinks from all campus food outlets and vending machines. The policy has been implemented voluntarily by all commercial retailers across their campuses and no adverse financial implications have been reported to date.
In Australia, local councils, non-government organisations and health institutions have implemented similar initiatives.
In early 2016, we ran a survey asking University of Sydney students and staff what they think about sugary drinks on campus. Initial analysis of the 900 responses indicate:
Factsheets, policy briefs, media releases and campaigns
- New York Times (2016) Putting Sugary Soda Out of Reach [United States]
- World Health Organization (2016) WHO urges global action to curtail consumption and health impacts of sugary drinks
- SugarByHalf (2016) Campaign to reduce sugar intake [Australia]
- Obesity Policy Coalition (2016) Reducing sugary drinks in Australia: policy brief [Australia]
- Cancer Council Victoria (2016) Rethink Sugary Drink [Australia]
- Alfred Health (2016) Reducing the appeal of sugar-sweetened drinks [Australia]
- Murrumbidgee Local Health District (2016) Soft drink sales banned in NSW Riverina hospitals and health facilities [Australia]
- FIZZ (2016) Supporting healthy drink choices [New Zealand]
- University of California San Francisco (2015) UCSF launches healthy beverage initiative [United States]
- YMCA (2014) YMCA Victoria bans sugary drinks [Australia]
- Nelson City Council (2014) Sugar sweetened beverages policy [New Zealand]
- Eurobodalla Shire Council (2013) Council takes a step towards addressing obesity epidemic [Australia]
- Allman-Farinelli MA. Calorically-sweetened soft drinks – a cause of obesity and metabolic disease? Nutr Today 2009. 44:1-4.
- Avery, A, Bostock, L, McCullough, F. A systematic review investigating interventions that can help reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in children leading to changes in body fatness. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015. 28 (Suppl.1):52-64.
- Basu, S, McKee, M, Galea, G, Stuckler, D. Relationship of Soft Drink Consumption to Global Overweight, Obesity, and Diabetes: A Cross-National Analysis of 75 Countries. Am J Public Health. 2013, 103:11:2071-2077.
- Bes-Rastrollo, M, Sayon-Orea, C, Ruiz-Canela, M, Martinez-Gonzalez, M. Impact of Sugars and Sugar Taxation on Body Weight Control: A Comprehensive Literature Review. Obesity. 2016. 24:1410-1426.
- Bray GA, Popkin BM. Calorie-sweetened beverages and fructose: what have we learned 10 years later. Pediatr Obes. 2013;8:242-8.
- Chen L, Appel LJ, Loria C, et al. Reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight loss: the PREMIER trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1299-306.
- Choi HK, Willett W, Curhan G. Fructose-rich beverages and risk of gout in women. JAMA. 2010;304:2270-8.
- Choi HK, Curhan G. Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2008;336:309-12.
- de Koning L, Malik VS, Kellogg MD, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sweetened beverage consumption, incident coronary heart disease, and biomarkers of risk in men. Circulation. 2012;125:1735-41, S1.
- de Ruyter JC, Olthof MR, Seidell JC, Katan MB. A trial of sugar-free or sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight in children. N Engl J Med. 2012;367:1397-406.
- Duffey, KJ, Poti, J. Modeling the Effect of Replacing Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption withWater on Energy Intake, HBI Score, and Obesity Prevalence. Nutrients. 2016. 8:395. doi:10.3390/nu8070395
- Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Osganian SK, Chomitz VR, Ellenbogen SJ, Ludwig DS. Effects of decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents: a randomized, controlled pilot study. Pediatrics. 2006;117:673-80.
- Fung TT, Malik V, Rexrode KM, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sweetened beverage consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1037-42.
- Gill, T, King, L, Bauman, A, Vita, P, Caterson, I, Colagiuri, S et al. A “state of the knowledge” assessment of comprehensive interventions that address the drivers of obesity: A Rapid Assessment. 2010. The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders. Sydney: University of Sydney.
- Ha, EJ, Caine-Bish, N, Holloman, C, Lowry-Gordon, K. Evaluation of effectiveness of class-based nutrition intervention on changes in soft drink and milk consumption among young adults. Nutritional Journal. 2009 8:50.
- Hattersley L, Irwin M, King L, Allman-Farinelli MA. Determinants and patterns of soft drink consumption in young adults: A qualitative analysis. Pub Health Nutr. 2009. 12:1816-22.
- Hebden L, Cook A, van der Ploegg H, Allman-Farinelli MA. Development of Smartphone Applications for Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviour Change JMIR Research Protocols. 2012. 1(2) e9.
- Hu FB. Resolved: there is sufficient scientific evidence that decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Obes Rev. 2013;14:606-19.
- Imamura, F, O’Connor, L, Ye, Z, Mursu, J, Hayashino, Y et al. Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction. BMJ. 2015. 351:h3576.
- Lei L, Rangan A, Flood VM, Louie JCY. Dietary intake and food sources of added sugar in the Australian population. The British Journal of Nutrition. 2016. 115(5), 868-77.
- Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Despres JP, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:2477-83.
- Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:274-88.
- Narain, A, Kwok, CS, Mamas, MA. Soft drinks and sweetened beverages and the risk of CVD and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Clinical Practice. 2016. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12841
- O’Leary F, Hattersley L, King L, Allman-Farinelli M. Sugary drink consumption behaviours among young adults at university Nutr Diet 2012. 13:692-710.
- Palmer JR, Boggs DA, Krishnan S, Hu FB, Singer M, Rosenberg L. Sugar-sweetened beverages and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in African American women. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:1487-92.
- Pan A, Malik VS, Hao T, Willett WC, Mozaffarian D, Hu FB. Changes in water and beverage intake and long-term weight changes: results from three prospective cohort studies. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013.
- Piernas C, Mendez MA, Ng SW, Gordon-Larsen P, Popkin BM. Low-calorie- and calorie-sweetened beverages: diet quality, food intake, and purchase patterns of US household consumers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;99(3):567-77.
- Poulos, NS, Pasch, KE. Energy drink consumption is associated with unhealthy dietary behaviours among college youth. Perspectives in Public Health. 2015. 135(6): 316-321.
- Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, et al. Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. JAMA. 2004;292:927-34.
- Swinburn, B, Caterson, I, Seidell, JC, James, WPT. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of excess weight gain and obesity. 2004. Public Health Nutrition. 7(1A):123-146.
- Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 2007;97:667-75.
- Veerman, JL, Sacks, G, Antonopolous, N, Martin, J. The Impact of a Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages on Health and Health Care Costs: A Modelling Study. PLoS ONE. 2016. 11(4):e0151460.
- Zheng M, Rangan A, Olsen NJ, Bo Andersen L, Wedderkopp N, Kristensen P, Grøntved A, Ried-Larsen M, Lempert SM, Allman-Farinelli M, Heitmann BL Sugar-sweetened beverages consumption in relation to changes in body fatness over 6 and 12 years among 9-year-old children: The European Youth Heart Study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014. 68:77-83.
- Zheng M, Allman-Farinelli M, Heitmann BL, Toelle B, Marks G, Cowell C. & Rangan A. Liquid versus solid energy intake in relation to body composition among Australian children. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015. 28:Suppl2 70-9.
- Zheng M, Rangan A, Olsen NJ, Andersen LB, Wedderkopp N, Kristensen P, Grøntved A, Ried-Larsen M, Lempert SM, Allman-Farinelli M, Heitmann BL. Substituting sugar-sweetened beverages with water or milk is inversely associated with body fatness development from childhood to adolescence. Nutrition. 2015. 31: 38-44.
- Zheng M, Allman-Farinelli M, Lilienthal-Heitmann B, Rangan A. Substitution of sugar-sweetened beverages with other beverage alternatives: a review of long-term health outcomes Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015. 115:767-779.
- Zheng M, Rangan, Allman-Farinelli M, Rohde JF, Olsen NJ, Heitmann BL. Replacing sugary drinks with milk is inversely associated with weight gain among young obesity-predisposed children. British Journal of Nutrition. 2015. 114:1448-1455.