Review examines how to cut sugary beverage consumption

2018 09 26 20 34 4032 Soda Bottles 400

What methods are effective in reducing the consumption of sugary drinks? Researchers reviewed the evidence and found that some practical methods made an impact. They reported their findings in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on June 12.

Having easy-to-read nutrition labels and limiting the availability of sugary beverages in schools helped reduced the amount of these beverages that people drink, the researchers found.

"Rates of obesity and diabetes are rising globally, and this trend will not be reversed without broad and effective action. Governments and industry in particular must do their part to make the healthy choice the easy choice for consumers," noted review co-author Hans Hauner, MD, PhD, in a Cochrane statement. Dr. Hauner is a professor of nutritional medicine at Technical University of Munich in Germany.

This new review summarized evidence from 58 research studies testing different ways of reducing consumption of sugary drinks at a population level. The studies were done in a variety of settings and assessed a wide range of different approaches to reduce consumption in 19 different countries. The review authors also looked at broader policy initiatives such as community-based campaigns to encourage healthier choices. They noted that future research will examine the effects of beverage taxes and health education, so they did not focus on those topics in this review.

The authors identified actions that the available scientific evidence indicates reduces the amount of sugary drinks people drink:

  • Labels that are easy to understand
  • Limits to the availability of sugary drinks in schools
  • Price increases on sugary drinks in restaurants, stores, and leisure centers
  • Children's menus in chain restaurants that include healthier beverages instead of sugary drinks as the default
  • Promotion and better placement of healthier beverages in supermarkets
  • Government food benefits that cannot be used to purchase sugary drinks
  • Community campaigns focused on supporting healthy beverage choices.
  • Measures that improve the availability of low-calorie beverages at home

In addition, the improved availability of drinking water and diet beverages at home may help people lose weight, the review authors noted in the statement.

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