Is it time to rethink the size of our soft drinks?

July 2, 2012 BY: LISA

Excerpts taken from Margaret Allman-Farinelli Adv APD-

The Mayor of New York is making moves to limit the serve size of soft drinks and juice sold in the city in an effort to help curb the obesity epidemic.

While there are some who believe that this is over regulation the evidence of getting used to these larger serves sizes is mounting up and it doesn’t look good for our food choices.

There’s a body of research showing that as portion sizes increase, the norm for what constitutes a serve also increases and people start to consume more at a single sitting and for those who were taught to always clear the dinner plate, larger serving sizes present an additional layer of challenge.

How often do you consider the calories from the drinks you choose? Given that there is no chewing involved a lot of people dismiss their drinks as not significant when in fact some of the juice drinks and thick shakes/crusher’s contain more calories than the food consumed.

Research indicates calories from sugar-sweetened drinks don’t register in the way calories from food do, so people who choose sugary drinks over water or “diet” drinks consume more energy overall. That means there’s no compensatory decrease in food intake to account for energy from the sweetened beverage.

Each 500 mL serve of a sweetened drink provides 44 grams of sugar, which means 180 calories = 700kilojoules (9% of the average adult male’s energy requirement) without protein, vitamins, calcium, iron or essential fatty acids.

Drink Kilojoules per serve
KFC Krushers (300-380ml serve) 1100-2280kJ    (265-550calories)
Frappes (Tall) (360ml serve) 1740-2740kJ    (420-660calories)
Smoothee (Tall) (600ml serve 1630-1750kJ    (390- 420 calories)
Shakes (large) 1880-2110kJ    (450 – 505 calories)
Coke (large) (600ml serve) 937kJ                (225calories)
Sprite (large) (600ml serve) 877kJ                (210 calories)
Boost Juice (600ml=original size) 876-2616kJ      (210 – 650 calories)
Big Mac burger 2060kJ              (495 calories)

There’s also a growing body of literature suggesting that drinking soft drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes – but we can’t yet say that consumption of soft drinks clearly causes these health problems. Obviously, for individuals battling weight gain, consumption of one-litre serves of soft drink several times a day is problematic.

So really if we couldn’t purchase these larger serve drinks then maybe we would no longer see them as normal. Is it time to rethink your super sized drinks?

Lisa Renn

Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)



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