Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


No sweet surrender

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 07 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:853

Rapid Response:

avoiding sugar

A large part of the sugar in our diet comes from sweetened drinks.

Bottled water is the greatest scam in developed countries. Oddly, it may be a reason for the increase in sweetened drinks. I travel a great deal and often find when I wish to buy a cold drink, that bottled water is more expensive than sweetened drinks. I would be quite happy with tap water, but there are fewer drinking fountains and taps available to the travelling public as councils assume we carry bottled and the tenants in shopping malls want us to purchase bottled water or soft drinks. Fast food outlets selling salty food offer litre containers or "bottomless" cups of sweet drinks.

New Zealanders are better catered for - Kiwis inform me that display cases of cool drinks show artificially sweetened alternatives for every flavour. Australians have fewer choices because

i) we have a sugar cane industry and

ii)the multinationals have been very effective at dissuading shopkeepers from stocking locally made products.

Darwin provides another good example as all schools provide chilled water dispensers in classrooms and these are also prominent in museums and other public places.

The profliferation of sweet drinks causes children and adults to expect drinks to be sweet. Even "no sugar added" fruit drinks are doctored by having syrupy apple juice added.

Bottom line - all restaurants should be required to provide free water on request, councils, tourist attractions and malls must bring back drinking fountains. How many offered water at their last catered meeting?

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 April 2005
Diane-Marie Campbell
itinerant emergency physician
Australia 2291