Soft drink industry says shock ad is a fizzer

UPDATE: The Australian Beverages Council  has hit back over a graphic ad campaign aimed at cutting the daily intake of soft drinks.

The national ad was to be launched by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation (Victoria) today at the Rethink Sugary Drink forum in Melbourne.

Licensed from the New York City Department of Health and tailored for an Australian audience, the ad features a man drinking a can of fat, representing the consumption if extra kilojoules from sugar-sweetened beverages are not burnt off.

Australian Beverages Council CEO Geoff Parker said the ad misleads the Australian public with ineffective shock tactics.

"This is a misguided approach focusing on a small and declining part of the Australian diet. In fact, sugar consumption by Australian children through sugar sweetened beverages has decreased in recent years while obesity continues to be a problem," Mr Parker said.

The organisation said research showed that across all children only 1.6% of energy intake comes from soft drinks which has declined from 3.3% in 1995.[1]

"A tax on sugar sweetened soft drinks won't solve the country's obesity problem," Mr Parker said.

"Australian families can't afford another tax on our supermarket trolley. A balanced diet, motivation and exercise are key to a healthy lifestyle, not a tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

"Taxes don't teach healthy lifestyles; if we want a healthier country, we need better education about exercise and balanced diets.

"Over the last decade the Australian Beverage Industry has taken a proactive approach to innovating to meet the changing needs of Australian consumers.

"Sales of diet and low kilojoule drinks have been increasing over the last ten years. This shows that as a nation we know that when it comes to managing weight all kilojoules count, including those from beverages. It's common sense."

EARLIER: AUSSIES will rethink their next sugary drink after the launch of a graphic ad showing just one soft drink a day could lead to an extra 5kg weight gain each year.

The national ad will be launched by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation (Victoria) today at the Rethink Sugary Drink forum in Melbourne.

Licensed from the New York City Department of Health and tailored for an Australian audience, the ad features a man drinking a can of fat, representing the consumption if extra kilojoules from sugar-sweetened beverages are not burnt off. 

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said the ad was designed to highlight the association between consuming sugary drinks and weight gain.

"Often people don't make the link between consuming sugar-sweetened beverages and how that impacts on their weight gain," Ms Clift said.

"One can of soft drink alone can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar - and many people think it's acceptable to have one can a day - it isn't.

"We're asking Queenslanders to rethink their sugary drink consumption - we're talking about soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, cordial and sports drinks."

Ms Clift said drinking soft drink was playing Russian roulette with health.

"The consumption of these sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with serious health issues such as weight gain and obesity - which can lead to some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart problems," she said.

"While obesity is caused by a range of complex factors, we know that eating a healthy diet and limiting sugary, fatty and salty food and drinks is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy weight."

Around 14 per cent of Queenslanders admit to consuming non-diet soft drink at least daily, and 16 per cent of children aged 5-17 years consume non-diet soft drink and non-diet flavoured drinks at least daily*.

Obesity rates for Queensland adults have doubled in the last 16 years. Currently, around 57 per cent of Queensland adults and about 26 per cent of the state's children are overweight or obese.

Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders limit their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and instead drink water or unflavoured low-fat milk.

Queenslanders can view and share the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign ad via Cancer Council Queensland's Facebook page and twitter account -

Queenslanders are also invited to join the QUEST toward a healthier lifestyle, to reduce their risk of cancer, via

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at

Topics:  cancer council australia editors picks fitness health

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