Media Release

17 January 2013

Australian beverage industry responds to British Medical Journal Series on Sugar

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the Australian non-alcoholic beverage industry welcomes the recent results from the World Health Organisation (WHO) study on sugar intake and weight status.
“This study confirms that it is kilojoules that count when it comes to weight loss, not uniquely kilojoules from sugar,” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

“As the author of the study noted, when kilojoules from sugar were replaced with kilojoules from carbohydrates there was no change in weight, Mr Parker said. “This would not have been the case if sugars had a unique effect on body weight.”
“It is important to note that all kilojoules count. The total diet and all foods and beverages consumed should be the focus of healthy eating, not one particular ingredient, food or beverage type. The beverages industry produces a range of hydration options to suit everybody’s lifestyle and all beverages can be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet supported by regular physical activity.”

• There are no quantitative recommendations for ‘added sugars’ intake in Australia and no agreed international consensus on the intake of ‘added sugars’.

• While the researchers have referenced WHO guidelines – “10% energy as added sugars” guideline which is based on a 2003 WHO Report to minimise the risk of dental caries, a recent report by the Institute of Medicine in 2005 recommended no more than 25% of energy from “added sugars” (based on maintaining nutrient adequacy).

• In relation to dental caries, sugars and cooked starches (e.g. bread, pasta) are fermentable carbohydrates that can increase the risk of tooth decay in the absence of good oral hygiene. There is broad consensus that the frequency of sugars and starch consumption is far more important than the actual amount that is consumed, when considering risk of tooth decay.

• The recent National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Systematic Literature Review (2011) found that the evidence base is weak and inconsistent for a link between added sugars and obesity.
Media contact: Geoff Parker – CEO, Australian Beverages Council, Mobile: 0407 646 195

The Australian Beverages Council is the peak body for the non-alcoholic beverages industry and represents 95% of the industry’s production volume through membership.