Call for policymakers to consider genetic link to soft drink consumption

January 17, 2013 by Charis Palmer, The Conversation

Policymakers should understand the urge to drink soft drinks is genetically determined, rather than being solely a lifestyle choice, argue endocrinologists from the Garvin Institute of Medical Research.

A study published in the last year showed a direct correlation between consumption of sugary soft drinks, obesity and to weight gain.

Now, Associate Professor Jerry Greenfield has joined other researchers from the Garvan Institute in calling for more attention to be given to the genetic factors behind obesity.

They argue if policymakers better understand the drive to eat is not a factor that people can easily overcome, it might help inform .

"Policy should reflect the scientific basis of food intake – in other words, people who eat too much and put on weight are not just over consuming because they are greedy, they actually have a very strong drive to eat," Professor Greenfield said.

The call comes as three major Australian health organisations have stepped up efforts to tackle the consumption of with the launch of a television campaign.

"Sugary drinks shouldn't be part of a daily diet… yet they're being consumed at levels that can lead to serious health issues for the population," said Craig Sinclair, chair of the Public Health Committee at Cancer Council Australia.

The Cancer Council, together with Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation, are calling on the Federal Government to implement restrictions on the marketing of sugary drinks to children, and also want Treasury to investigate a tax on sugary drinks.

A 2007 survey found almost half of children aged 2 to 16 consumed sugary drinks daily.

There is some evidence, however, that a growing number of Australians are cutting back on sugar consumption.

A survey of 1,511 Australians conducted late last year by Goulburn Valley found 72% were aware of the "sugar is bad for you" debate, and half those surveyed with young families (mainly preschool aged children) agreed you should limit your fruit consumption to cut down on sugar intake.

The official Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends adults consume between two and five serves of fruit a day, depending on age and gender.

Explore further: Rationing soft drink sizes: A good public health move

Related Stories

Rationing soft drink sizes: A good public health move

December 17, 2012
New York City's limit of a maximum 16-ounce size of sugar-sweetened drinks for sale in eating establishments is a positive public health move and should be replicated in Canada, argues an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical ...

Study reveals Australian children overdosing on sugar

October 19, 2012
More than half of young Australians are consuming too much sugar, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Wollongong and University of Sydney.

UK public underestimating sugar levels in popular drinks

April 18, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- People in the UK are significantly misjudging the amount of sugar in popular drinks, particularly those perceived as “healthy” options according to research revealed today by the University of ...

Weight loss groups back NYC's sugary drinks plan

September 4, 2012
(AP)—Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and other diet groups say they are supporting New York City's proposed crackdown on super-sized, sugary drinks.

Drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks leads to fat gain

July 23, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- New research from Bangor University has shown that regularly drinking sugar sweetened soft drinks can increase fat gain, inhibit fat metabolism, and increases blood glucose in your body.  So if you’re ...

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.