A new study has found that despite consumers’ decreased sugar intake, Australian obesity rates are higher than ever.
In recent years, scientists have linked excessive sugar consumption with obesity.
This has led to a number of initiatives to decrease added or refined sugars in Australia’s food and beverages.
The nation has recently experienced the biggest increase in adult obesity levels since 1980 (16 per cent). The number of overweight or obese Australians is now 63 per cent, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
This is despite the fact that in Australia, the per capita availability of added or refined sugars and sweeteners was shown to have fallen by 16 per cent between 1980 and 2011, according to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Specifically, in national dietary surveys in 1995 and 2011-2012, added sugar intake saw a marked decline in men (18 per cent), but little to no decline in women.
However, during the same period, the proportion of sugar-sweetened beverage intake (including 100 per cent juice) fell 10 per cent in men and 20 per cent in women.
The most significant changes were seen in children aged 2-18 (who currently have an overweight/obesity rate of 25 per cent).
According to the study, data from national grocery sales indicated that per capita added-sugars intakes derived from carbonated soft drinks decreased from 26 per cent between 1997 and 2011, with similar trends for non-carbonated beverages.
However, Australia’s childhood obesity rate has also been steadily increasing over the years.
The study suggests that the link between sugar consumption and obesity may not be as strong as scientists initially thought.