Sugary Drinks and Misleading Health Claims

It mightn’t be a surprise to people that sugary drinks can have a detrimental effect on your teeth if over consumed.

What is worrying is the fact that people are drinking sugary drinks not knowing these drinks have a high sugar content according to a new study. This is especially true when looking at young adults.

What do Sugary drinks do to your teeth?

When you intake sugar, the bacteria in your mouth feed off this sugar for energy. During this process, acid is produced as a by-product. If this acid isn’t removed from your teeth by brushing twice daily, it will destroy the enamel on your teeth, cause erosion, and tooth decay.

Drinks that you didn’t know were high in sugar

A very interesting report was released in October by Bite Back 2030, highlighting a concerning issue. Young people thought they were drinking healthy drinks when in fact these store-bought drinks are also very high in sugar.

In the study, 1,000 young people aged 13-18 across the UK were surveyed. Rather worryingly, what was found in the study was that almost 9 in 10 young people think smoothies are healthy – yet 76% of juices and smoothies would receive a red traffic light label for high levels of sugar.

This study has highlighted the importance of correct advertising so people know exactly what they are consuming. Slogans such as “No added Sugar’, or ‘All Natural’, are confusing and misleading people into thinking what they are drinking is healthy.

An example of this is Innocence Banana and Strawberry Smoothie. Their products claim the following:

  • Packed with Natural Goodness
  • A source of vitamin C and fibre
  • Responsibly sourced ingredients
  • Never added Sugar

Based on this, you would think that choosing this smoothie is a healthy option. However, in reality, this drink has 10g of sugar per 100ml. To put this into perspective, when we look at Coca-Cola, there are 37 grams (g) of added sugar, which equates to almost 10 teaspoons (tsp), in a single can of cola. This is 10.6 g of sugar per 100ml. For optimal health, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming no more than 6 tsp of added sugar daily. By drinking just one serving of cola a day or the Innocence smoothie, a person will easily exceed this amount.

We can’t stress the importance of digging deeper into the ingredients and sugar content of the drinks you are consuming to ensure you are not exceeding your daily allowance.

Other Finds in This Report

Some other interesting finds in this survey were:

  • Nearly two thirds (62%) of all drink products had ‘dangerously’ high sugar levels
  • Less than 6% of products meet current guidance on free sugar.
  • 66% of participants believe ‘low in sugar’ or ‘no added sugar’ made a product healthy. However, the research found loads of products making these claims while hiding the truth about their other unhealthy ingredients.

It is fantastic to see campaigns such as the one being run by Bite Back 2030 to highlight these issues. Until there is further progress made, it is essential to look into the ingredients of the drinks you are consuming to ensure the levels of sugar in these drinks are low.

Tips for Reducing Your Sugar Intake From Drinks

  • Avoid Sugary drinks completely if possible.
  • Bring your own homemade drinks with you on the go so. You will know exactly how much sugar is in the drink.
  • Substitute high sugar drinks with lower sugar options such as water, milk, sparkling water.
  • If you do have a sugary drink on occasion, make sure to drink it rather than sip it, as you are giving the bacteria a constant supply to sugar to feed on while sipping your drink slowly.
  • Don’t brush your teeth straight after you drink a sugary drink. As the acid produced softens the enamel, if you brush immediately, you will brush away some of your enamel. Wait at least 30 minuts after finishing your drink.

This survey has highlighted the importance of checking the contents of your drink, and to look past the misleading ‘health claims’. If you have any questions about making diet changes to reduce your sugar intake please talk to your GP, or get in touch with us here at Waterford Perio.

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