A study from Scottish researchers has shown that people in the UK underestimate the amount of sugar in drinks which are perceived to be ‘healthy’, like fruit juices and smoothies.
Researchers at Glasgow University asked more than 2,000 Brits to estimate how much sugar was in a range of drinks. Whilst many people overestimated the amount of sugar in fizzy drinks, the majority also underestimated the sugar levels in smoothies and fruit juices.
People are underestimating the amount of calories in fruit juice and smoothies
Participants underestimated the amount of sugar in pure apple juice, orange juice, a caffeinated energy drink and a smoothie by between two and four teaspoons. For a pomegranate based drink they underestimated the sugar level by nearly 18 teaspoons.
Lead researcher Professor Naveed Sattar said: "Some varieties of drinks such as pure fruit juices and smoothies, which are perceived as 'healthy' options, are also very high in sugar.”
The survey also asked participants to assess their weekly drinking habits. It showed that soft drinks could be accounting for a large chunk of recommended calorie intake without the person realising.
Their answers suggested that 450 calories a day were being consumed in soft drinks- a quarter of the daily limit of women and a fifth for men.
The team now warns that over consumption of soft drinks can contribute to obesity, a major risk factor for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Professor Naveed Sattar said:
"For many people struggling with their weight, reducing their intake of such drinks and replacing with water or diet drinks would be a sensible first target to help them lessen their calorie intake."
A quarter of women (24%) and over a fifth of men (22%) in the UK are now classed as obese, the highest rate of obesity in Europe. In addition, one in three of British children are overweight or obese by the age of nine.
Being overweight can affect your private medical insurance premiums. However, some insurers will also reward their customers for living a healthy lifestyle, so compare health insurance quotes online now.
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