Sugar: You're Sweet Enough!
Sugar sweetened beverages include soft drinks, cordials, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavoured milk, juices- any drink that contains added sugar. Introduced to the region during World War II, more than 500 brands of soft drinks and juices are now sold in the Pacific.
They are filling up our supermarket isles, littering our beaches, using up our food budgets and filling out our waistlines - not to mention rotting our teeth!
You’ll hear a lot of negative things about these drinks and for good reason; here are the main ways in which they can harm our health:
- Obesity: Sugary drinks are loaded with calories but don’t fill us up, leaving us feeling hungry for more. This means they don’t provide us with any nutrition but increase the likelihood of us consuming too many calories and gaining weight. Already we’re world leaders in obesity, in four Pacific Islands over 90% of adults are now Obese!
- Diabetes: Drinking a can or two (355- 600ml) of sugary drinks a day increases peoples risk of developing diabetes by 26%!
- Heart Disease: The rush of sugar that goes into our blood after drinking sugar sweetened beverages can cause damage to our hearts and increase the risk of heart disease by up to 40%- even if we have a healthy weight. Heart Disease is the Pacific’s number one killer and has shown a dramatic increase since sugary beverages entered the market
- Weak Bones: Sugary drinks contain lots of phosphate (especially cola), which can strip our bones of calcium (the mineral that makes bones strong). Kids also tend to switch milk for soft drinks, which makes this even worse and can lead to more fractures and injuries. Not the best conditions for the future of Pacific rugby players and athletes!
- Dental Caries: These kinds of drinks are high in sugar and very acidic – the perfect combo for tooth decay. In many of the islands tooth decay, means tooth extraction!