Researchers have issued warnings about upmarket soft drinks which appear to be healthy alternatives to the big-name brands, such as Coke and Pepsi, yet it contains more sugar.
Some of the options available to consumers include sparkling elderflower, dandelion and burdock, prestige lemonade and ginger beer. These drinks often contain as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar in a single bottle.
Some of the brands that exceed the amount of sugar in Pepsi or Coca-Cola include:
• Fentimans Traditional Dandelion & Burdock with 11 teaspoons
• Finches Sparkling Orange contains 11 teaspoons
• Club Orange contains 12 teaspoons
• Old Jamaica Ginger Beer with Extra Fiery Jamaica Root Ginger is as high as 13 teaspoons
The cheaper supermarket versions and big brand names contain around nine teaspoons. It has been found that eight of the ten other available high street fizzy drinks contain around six or more teaspoons of sugar.
The figures were compiled by health campaigners who have issued warnings that children and adults are consuming massive amounts of hidden sugar in drink and processed food, which is the cause of poor health and obesity.
The World Health Organisation’s recommendation is about 25g per day, which is equal to around six teaspoons. Action on Sugar has found that 79% of the 232 popular drinks which were analysed contain this level of sugar in one 330ml serving.
The group has urged the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to pressure manufacturers into cutting the sugar levels in their drinks. The chair of the group, Professor Graham MacGregor, stated that added sugars are unnecessary and are linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity. He added that this was a huge cause of dental decay.
He further stated that the replacement of sugar with sweeteners will not solve the problem. It is necessary to reduce the overall sweetness to allow people’s tastes to adjust to the consumption of less sweets.
He said that a similar approach has resulted in a 15% decline in the intake of salt over a decade. This has saved 9000 lives each year which has resulted in an annual health saving of £1.5bn. He asked for the same to be done for sugar.
A nutritionist at Action on Sugar, Kawther Hashem, has asked people to check the label for the level of ‘sugar per 100g’ and switch to a product with a lower quantity or no added sugar. The alternative, he said, was not to consume these drinks at all as they hold no nutritional value.
According to the British Soft Drinks Association, the campaigners have been ‘blinded by political zeal’.
A nutritionist at Sugar Nutrition UK, an organisation funded by manufacturers, Dr Glenys Jones, said as with all calorie sources, sugars can from part of an active lifestyle and healthy balanced diet.
Image Credit: Eduardo