UK public underestimating sugar levels in popular drinks

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 18th April 2012

People in the UK are significantly misjudging the amount of sugar in popular drinks, particularly those perceived as “healthy” options, according to new research by the University of Glasgow, in Scotland.

The researchers asked 2,005 people from across the UK to estimate how many teaspoons of sugar were in some of the UK’s most popular drinks.

Whilst people generally slightly overestimated the amount of sugar in carbonated drinks, they significantly underestimated the sugar levels in a milkshake, a smoothie, an energy drink and a variety of fruit juices – by nearly 18 teaspoons for one popular pomegranate juice drink.

Those surveyed were also asked to estimate their average weekly liquid consumption in detail. The survey found that the average person in the UK consumes 659 grams of sugar and 3,144 calories per week (which equates to 450 calories per day) through non-alcoholic liquid intake. This is the equivalent of nearly a quarter of recommended daily calories for a woman and a fifth for men in the UK.

The overconsumption of sugar-sweetened drinks has been found to contribute to obesity, which is a major risk factor for health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and stroke.  
The survey also found that nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of those questioned did not take into consideration their liquid sugar or calorie intake when they were last on a diet.

Half of people who admitted to drinking three or more sugary drinks in an average day, said they never compensated by reducing the calorie intake of their food.