Clear labels set to send sugar packing

Credit: Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty

Sugary drinks are out of fashion across Western Sydney Local Health District and the rest of the country is looking to follow suit.

Pictures showing how many teaspoons of sugar there are in sweetened drinks could become mandatory on labels under a new proposal being considered.

Population Health deputy director Christine Newman said the proposal under review by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation is a good move.

“Most people don’t look at nutritional labels. They’re small, they’re hidden and they’re extremely confusing,” Christine said.

“The research shows that graphics are far more powerful at showing people exactly how much sugar they’re consuming. If people could easily see on the label how exactly how much sugar was in their drink, it would definitely encourage them to make a healthier choice.”

Christine said while we all love sugar, sweetened drinks are ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value.

“They serve no purpose besides contributing to weight gain and associated health issues including type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” she said.

“There are many other healthy choices and more nutritional ways to enjoy sugar, such as a piece of fruit.”

WSLHD has phased out unhealthy soft drinks as part of its commitment to the NSW Healthy Food and Drink framework.

More water stations are now being installed at different facilities in order to help staff, patients and visitors choose a healthy and free alternative to sweetened drinks.

Do you want to make healthier food and drink choices? Try these simple tips.

  • Stay hydrated: choose water or even sugar-free soft drink for a better alternative.
  • Veg out: make salads or a variety of roasted veggies your default side dish.
  • Portion control: if you really want those fries, try a half-serve rather than an upsize.