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Two in three people underestimate how much sugar is in energy drinks


  Posted by: The Probe      8th June 2018

Most British adults dangerously underestimate the amount of sugar contained within energy drinks, the findings of a new nationwide poll reveal.

Research carried by the Oral Health Foundation, which interviewed more than 2,000 members of the public, show almost two in three misjudge how much sugar is inside some of the country’s most popular energy drinks.1

A regular can of Red Bull (355ml) has more than nine teaspoons of sugar – far more than the total recommended daily allowance for an adult, while some energy drinks on sale contain even more than this.

The charity is now campaigning to raise awareness around the dangers of energy drinks and the damage that can be caused by regular and excessive consumption.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, is deeply worried about the growth in popularity of energy drinks and the long-term effect it will have on the nation’s health.

Dr Carter says: “One in three British adults now regularly consume energy drinks, with many feeling as though they need them to function throughout the day.

“Most energy drinks have obscenely high levels of sugar and are extremely acidic. A dependence on energy drinks can very quickly lead to severe oral health problems such as tooth decay and dental erosion, as well as contribute to any number of other health conditions and diseases.

“Energy drinks add an unnecessary risk to the UK’s health and over-consumption is causing enormous, and in some cases, irreparable damage to oral health.”

A small 250ml can of Red Bull contains 27.5g of sugar, a medium 355ml can contains 39g of sugar and a large 473ml can contains 52g. In other energy drinks, a 380ml bottle of Lucozade Energy contains 17.1g of sugar, a 500ml can of Rockstar contains 24g of sugar and a 500ml can of Monster Energy 55g of sugar.

A teaspoon of sugar is around four grams.

The Oral Health Foundation is currently running National Smile Month, a campaign to promote good oral health and wellbeing through healthy lifestyles.

The charity campaign is being supported by some of the nation’s best-known brands and retailers, including Oral-B, Wrigley, Philips, Regenerate Enamel Science, POLO Sugar Free and Curaprox.

“As consumers, we are now faced more choices than ever before, and this is especially true when it comes to taking care of our diet,” adds Dr Carter.

“It is so important that we are aware of nutrition and sugar content and are able to make smart and positive choices about the food and drink we buy, not only for ourselves but our family and children too. Not only do energy drinks have exceedingly high levels of sugar, they also have no nutritional value, so there really is no need to consume them.”

Earlier this month, the Oral Health Foundation called for severe changes to be made to the amount of sugar that energy drinks can include, in addition to how they are labelled, after uncovering dangerous levels of dependency.

The research showed more than one in four (26 per cent) Brits need energy drinks to wake up in the morning while a similar number say they help to get them through the day (23 per cent). Some thought it suppressed appetite (8 per cent) while other admitted to feelings of addiction (4 per cent).

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