Singles and women lead charge to abandon sugar

AUSTRALIANS are ditching sugar in droves as supermarket sales of healthier alternatives skyrocket.

Sales of sugar-laden soft drinks, biscuits and sweet spreads are all in decline compared to a year ago, according to new research by Nielsen and The George Institute.

High-sugar biscuits as well as spreads both suffered a nine per cent decrease in the value of sales in the past year.

Soft drink sales have plummeted at supermarkets.
Soft drink sales have plummeted at supermarkets.

High-sugar dairy dips and snacks also suffered, falling eight and seven percentage points respectively.

The data shows sugar-conscious households tended to be singles or couples without kids.

Women are more sugar-conscious than men - 37 per cent are concerned about sugar consumption compared to only 33 per cent of men. And those aged over 55 were more likely to be concerned.

Leading nutritionist Kristen Beck said people were becoming more aware of the obesity problems associated with high sugar consumption thanks to the I Quit Sugar effect.

"Sugar is at the moment THE dietary theme. Everyone knows sugar is bad now - Every book, every TV show is talking about sugar," she said.

Nutritionist Kristen Beck.
Nutritionist Kristen Beck.

"It is good people are being conscious of how much sugar is in food. A lot of the time people are making bad choices because food manufacturers will say "no added sugar" but then they will use things like rice malt syrups and honey. They are sneaking in what the World Health Organisation deems as being sugar.

"We also know there is a massive amount of sugar in highly processed food that you're not expecting, in things like sauces and breads. There is quite a lot of added sugar in foods that may be surprising to a lot of consumers.

Ms Beck said the I Quit Sugar movement put sugar consumption on the map but other factors, such as proposals for a sugar tax, contributed to an increase in awareness.

While sugary food sales were declining, sales of healthy alternatives such as kombucha drinks grew seven times in the past two years.

The World Health Organisation says sugar intake should be less than five per cent of total calorie intake.

Women are leading the charge for healthier food sales.
Women are leading the charge for healthier food sales.

Yesterday the outgoing Australian Medical Association president said governments would inevitably slap a tax on sugary drinks to cope with the obesity crisis.

Dr Michael Gannon said he believed Australia would follow Britain and Ireland.

"In fact it is so simple, and so obvious, I worry that it will be seen by a future government as a 'silver bullet' to what is a much more complex health and social policy issue," he said.

Demand for high-sugar biscuits is also in decline.
Demand for high-sugar biscuits is also in decline.

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