Warning labels on sugary drinks encourage healthier drink choices, research shows

Printing health warnings on sugary drinks can lead to healthier beverage choices by consumers, a new study has revealedPrinting health warnings on sugary drinks can lead to healthier beverage choices by consumers, a new study has revealed.

And researchers hope this could help to inform policymakers working on health-based policies and projects.

The team looked at 23 studies of sugary drink warnings, with data from more than 16,200 individuals.

Using meta-analysis, they found that sugary drink warnings led to statistically significant reductions in the number of sugary drinks being purchased.

Reduce consumption

Leader of the research team Anna H. Grummon is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

‘Our findings suggest that sugary drink warnings help consumers better understand products’ healthfulness. They encourage consumers to make healthier choices about what drinks to buy,’ she said.

‘These results highlight the potential usefulness of sugary drink warning policies in both informing consumers and reducing consumption of unhealthy beverages like sodas, energy drinks and fruit-flavoured drinks.’

She added: ‘It is clear that sugary drink warnings can help consumers make healthier choices about the drinks they buy.

‘Now, we are studying the best ways to design warnings to maximise their benefits. For example, should warnings include icons or pictures that help communicate the warnings’ message?’

The research will be presented as part of an online conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Increase disease risk

This comes as another study suggests drinking one or more sugary drinks each day can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in women by nearly 20%.

Carried out by the American Heart Association, the report also found differences based on the kind of drink consumed.

For example, drinking one or more sugar-added fruit drinks each day was linked to a 42% spike.

Additionally, soft drinks – such as sodas – were associated with a lower risk of 23% when compared to those who do not regularly drink sugary refreshments.


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