Sugar in soft drinks, energy drinks and fruit juice will be cut by 20 per cent following a promise by Australia’s major beverage companies.
The promise made on Monday from companies including Coca Cola and Pepsi is set to come into effect by 2025.
But with some drinks containing up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, there are concerns the measures don’t go far enough.
In the past year, 200,000 Australians have gone from overweight to a healthy weight.
The best results are evident in young adults aged 18 to 24, with the age bracket down 2.6 per cent.
But the over-50s are still gaining weight.
“There will be less sugar consumed by children and adults in the coming years,” Minister for Health Greg Hunt said.
One solution is more sugar alternatives. A standard can of Coca Cola contains an eye-watering 10 teaspoons, equating to 40 grams of sugar.
Using the sugar substitute Stevia, that amount drops more than half to 19 grams.
But the beverage industry’s sugar reduction initiative has drawn criticism.
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Nutritionists argue the move doesn’t go far enough in helping to lower our obesity rates further and improve the nation’s health.
“A 20 per cent drop, like having four teaspoons of sugar instead of five teaspoons of sugar, in a soft drink is not going to do anything to reduce obesity,” dietician Matt O’Neill said.
The industry aims to report on the progress made by drink companies to ensure sugar content reductions are on target.
“We are determined to reduce sugar without having a negative impact on taste,” Australian Beverages Council CEP Geoff Parker said.