No Fizzy Drinks

Sugary drinks appear to be even more of a trap for us than sugars in food: not only are sugary drinks rapidly digested, they don't make us feel full in the way that eating food does. So it's incredibly easy to drink a lot more kilojoules than we realise, and a lot more kilojoules than we need — causing us to put on weight.

Did you know?

Our sugar addiction goes back to the 1840s to the so-called Flour and Sugar policy of Governor George Grey where aid to Māori was targeted in areas where Grey hoped to acquire land.

The policy was an attempt to reduce Māori rebellion against the land grabs but also to create self-sufficiency. Poor health and early death rates among Māori during colonisation were often associated with diet, so medical officers believed Māori health, especially infant health, would be improved if flour and sugar were added to the diet.

The relationship between our people and sugar intake therefore is not just a contemporary phenomenon. It has built up over generations and cannot be turned around easily.

Reasons to avoid sugary drinks:

Māori and Pacific people naturally have more uric acid in their blood than Pakeha. This acid causes gout (a painful kind of arthritis). Sugar causes the body's uric acid levels to rise even further, causing more severe gout.

Because sugary drinks often contain large amounts of caffeine, more than one a week can cause headaches, anxiety and sleeplessness.

Sugar is addictive in a similar way to tobacco and alcohol.

The Truth About Alcohol

Alcohol has three major characteristics: it's a nutrient (energy source), a psycho-active drug and a toxin. Alcohol is not just a source of calories, but also a potentially addictive and lethal substance, and for many people, the effect of alcohol on their bodies may be far less significant than its effects on their lives.

Alcohol is a known appetite stimulant, which means people tend to eat more when drinking. And one can of beer has about the same amount of sugar (or energy) as a can of fizzy drink. Too much alcohol damages the liver and brain, and increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and some cancers. alcohol can interfere with the action of many common medications, including antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, beta blockers, pain relievers and sleeping tablets.

Healthy drinking tips:

  • Try to eat something when drinking and avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Have a glass of water as well as something alcoholic. This helps to slow down your drinking as well as keeping you well hydrated. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect — one of the main causes of hangover symptoms ­particularly the headache. It doesn't matter whether these are together or apart.
  • When trying to lose weight, reduce the number of kilojoules from alcoholic drinks by having less each week; replace with water, tea/coffee or sugar-free drinks.
  • Include some alcohol-free days each week.

Remember: Fizzy drinks and fruit juices have about the same number of kilojoules as alcohol.