How to break the sugary drink habit

What you need to know about sugary drinks – and why you should choose lighter alternatives instead

How much sugar do you consume each day? We all know the obvious culprits – chocolate, ice cream, lollies and other junk food. But it’s easy to forget that a lot of the sugar we consume comes in liquid form.

Soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks can all pack in far more sugar than you might realise. Even more so when you consider the serving size – many of the bottles and cans we are sold as individual beverages actually contain more than one serving.

LiveLighter is a health awareness and education program supported by the Heart Foundation, the Cancer Council, the Victorian Government and Healthy Together Victoria. The idea is to increase Australians’ understanding of the link between weight and disease, and how our everyday habits can make a difference.

Now, LiveLighter is encouraging us all to reduce our consumption of sugary drinks – and by doing so, work towards reducing the amount of ‘toxic fat’ in our bodies.

The not-so-sweet facts about sugary drinks 

You’d probably think twice about adding 16 teaspoons of sugar to your tea or coffee. The unfortunate truth is, that’s how much sugar a 600 mL bottle of regular soft drink can contain.

Australia is one of the biggest consumers of sugary drinks in the world. The average Australian soft drink consumer drinks a 375 mL can of soft drink every day. Over a year, that adds up to almost 15 kg of sugar going into your body. And that could lead to an estimated weight gain of 6.5 kg.

This is concerning when you look at the patterns across the nation as a whole. In Australia, 63.4% of adults are overweight or obese. This is a huge increase from 56.3% in 1995, and it’s putting many Australians at risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and several cancers.

That’s why we need to make a change – for better health for all Australians. And the good news is, there are plenty of delicious, refreshing beverages to choose from with far less sugar, which are far less damaging to our health.

“Too much sugar gets turned into fat in the body, which can lead to toxic fat.”

Sugar, fat and waist measurement

Too much sugar gets turned into fat in the body, which can lead to ‘toxic fat’. This is another way of describing visceral fat, or the fat that gets stored around your waist.

Science has now shown that fat stored around your waist is more of a health risk than fat stored in other places, for example in your hips and lower body. A larger waist has been linked to metabolic syndrome, and is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers (including cancers of the oesophagus, pancreas, bowel and breast).

That’s why your waist measurement is an important health check. Waist measurement is considered a better predictor of health risks than BMI, as it helps show where excess fat is being stored.

To learn more about how fat is used and stored in the body, check out our guide to how fat works. For a snapshot of how your body is storing fat, use our free online waist-to-hip ratio calculator.

“If you get bored of the taste of water, try adding some lemon, berries or mint for a refreshing twist.”

5 ways to beat the sugary drink habit

Sugary drinks aren’t the only thing causing our expanding Australian waistlines. But making simple changes every day can go a long way in creating long term healthier habits.

To help you cut back on sugary drinks, LiveLighter suggests the following tips:

1. Always have water with you. Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle around – that way, when you get thirsty during the day, there’s less temptation to buy a sugary drink.

2. Drink lighter alternatives. Try to replace most of your beverages with water. If you get bored of the taste, try adding some lemon, berries or mint for a refreshing twist, or choose an unsweetened iced tea. For more ideas, check out some of these delicious soft drink alternatives.

3. Beat impulse soft drink purchases. Out of sight, out of mind. If you know you get tempted by the lure of shop displays, avoid going down the soft drink aisle at the supermarket, and try to ignore specials at the checkout and service stations.

4. Order smart when eating out. Sip on sparkling water to get your fizzy fix, and focus on the food, the company and the conversation.

5. Be wary of marketing and labels. Some manufacturers try to make their beverages sound healthier than they really are – so apply some healthy scepticism to health or nutrition claims on the labels. Check out the amount of sugar on the nutrition panel, and check how many serves are in each bottle to help get the real story.

Learn more about sugary drinks at livelighter.com.au

Recommended reading - Tennis guide

Travel

Tennis stadiums worth travelling for

The best travel destinations for tennis lovers.

Read more
Community

Local tennis stars

Meet the everyday heroes who love to get out on the court.

Read more
Community

Tennis for kids

Teach the young ones to love the game.

Read more
Advice

Mindfulness in tennis

Play better by bringing your attention to the present moment.

Read more
Community

Covering the court

What wheelchair tennis legend Daniela Di Toro has learnt throughout her inspiring career.

Read more
Community

Tennis gear guide

Look the part on court this summer with the latest equipment and apparel.

Read more
Community

Bright young star

Winner of Medibank's Healthy Attitude Award, 10-year-old Dan Smith shows real promise on the court.

Read more
Community

How to choose the perfect tennis racquet

Finding the perfect racquet for your style, taste and goals.

Read more
Advice

6 tips for a better serve

Give your serve explosive power with tips from record-holder Sam Groth.

Read more
Advice

6 ways to improve your game

You know your way around the court – here’s how to take your performance up a notch.

Read more
Community

Tennis trivia

Be a tennis know-it-all with these facts.

Read more
Community

6 tennis Twitter accounts

Follow these players and fans and you won’t miss a point.

Read more
Community

5 books for tennis fans

Literature to get you in a tennis state of mind.

Read more
Community

Tennis on film

A look at some of our favourite tennis-themed movies.

Read more
Community

The history of the tennis ball

From wool-wrapped sheep stomachs to the yellow spheres we know today.

Read more
Community

Legends off the court

Tennis stars serving aces in the humanitarian arena.

Read more
Advice

Top tennis stretches

Stay safe and improve your tennis performance with this stretching guide.

Read more
Community

Tennis translated

Talk tennis like a pro with this handy vocab list.

Read more
Community

A day at the tennis: a survival guide

It’s a big day out – so make sure your memories are of the serves, not your sunburn.

Read more
Community

Tennis – not as you know it

An enduring source of inspiration, the popularity of tennis has led to a world of variations.

Read more
Advice

Playing it safe

Enjoy the benefits of tennis while reducing your risk of injury.

Read more
Community

Life on the court

A former pro on friendships forged through tennis.

Read more
Recipes

Ajvar recipe

This traditional Serbian roasted red pepper sauce is a nod to all-court superstar Novak Djokovic.

Read more
Recipes

Draniki potato pancake recipe

These traditional Belarusian savoury pancakes are perfect served with a dollop of sour cream.

Read more
Recipes

Iberian ham, fig and goats cheese pintxos recipe

These tasty Spanish morsels are simple to prepare and offer a crowd-pleasing flavour combo.

Read more
Community

Memphis rub recipe

To honour USA’s Serena Williams efforts on the court, we whip up a traditional American BBQ.

Read more
Community

Food for tennis

Between training, match time and recovery, sustain energy levels with a nutritious diet.

Read more
Community

Playing as a family

Four reasons why tennis can bring the whole family together.

Read more
Community

6 reasons to join a tennis club

Always loved the occasional game? Sign up to a club and make tennis a permanent part of your week.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.