Teens drink nearly 80 litres of sugary drinks on average per year

A recent Cancer Research UK survey reveals a new alarming increase in UK teenagers’ consumption of soft drinks in 2015 after rates had dropped in 2014.

The amount of sugar that children from all age groups are now consuming, by sipping on soft drinks, is unprecedented, and could be contributing to the year-on-year high rate of increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The figures provided by Cancer Research indicate that teenagers drink enough sugar every year to fill a bathtub.

The sugar content found in most sugary drinks does not show any sign of appreciable decline either, despite numerous calls by associations to have these products reformulated.

A single can of cola contains 35g of sugar, on average, and teenagers and adults should ingest no more than 30g of added sugars during their entire day.

The study also shows that the young generation starts to consume these products very early on in their formative years.

Pre-school children are thought to drink the equivalent of nearly 70 cans of fizzy cola a year, and this number rises to 110 cans a year once they reach four to 10 years of age.

The survey shows that, by the time children get into their teenage years, they are consuming the equivalent to more than 234 cans a year. That’s 77 litres, or around 17 gallons, of sugary drinks being consumed on average. This means many teenagers will be drinking much more than this.

A five per cent tax on sugary drinks – with the exception of those who are lactose-based – is expected to come into effect soon.

It will see that soft drinks companies pay the charge every time the sugar content of one of their drinks exceeds 5g of sugar per 100ml.

Benedict Jephcote, Head of Education at Diabetes.co.uk, said: “To truly tackle the problem, there will need to be more than levies; we will need to see a complete culture change to stop sugary drinks from being regarded as a ‘normal drink’.”


Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is commonly known as Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison. This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar it’s likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

Type 2 diabetes statistics

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), more than 371 million people across the globe have diabetes and this figure is predicted to rise to over 550 million by 2030.

Of the total global diabetes rate, 90% are living with type 2 diabetes but it is estimated that up to half of these people are unaware of their condition (undiagnosed diabetes).

In the UK, more than 2.7 million people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes whilst a further 750,000 people are believed to have the symptoms but are yet to be diagnosed with the disease.

How serious is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

Following pre-diabetes or metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided through diet and exercise.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin is not used effectively by the cells…

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Some resilient black youth may face higher diabetes risk as adults

Low-income black teens with the resilience to succeed in school may be more likely to graduate college and achieve higher incomes than their less persistent peers, but they may also face more health problems as adults, a recent study suggests.

High-striving black youth from the most disadvantaged homes were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes by age 29 as high-achieving black teens from more affluent homes, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Among these resilient black teens, high-strivers from disadvantaged homes may have what’s known as “skin-deep resilience” as adults, displaying few outward signs of the stress they endured to succeed in school and work but still having health problems under the surface, said lead study author Gene Brody of the University of Georgia in Athens.

“We reasoned that, if disadvantaged children were succeeding academically and emotionally, they might also be protected from health problems that were more common in lower-income youth,” Brody said by email. “As it turned out, the exact opposite was true.”

“These young people were achieving success by all the conventional markers: doing well academically, staying out of trouble, making friends, and developing a positive sense of self,” Brody added. “Underneath, however, their physical health was deteriorating.”

This may be because compared with other participants in the study, they produced more stress hormones, had higher blood pressure, were more obese, displayed a greater susceptibility to infection, and had faster aging of their immune cells, Brody said.

Researchers didn’t find this pattern of skin-deep resilience in white youth.

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