Frequently asked questions
Why should I take this Challenge?
We need water, not sugary drinks for hydration. Water is the best drink choice. It is fresh, free and available readily on tap! Water has no added sugar, no calories and non-acidic. Switching your sugary drinks to water is a great first step towards better health. The 30 days Challenge offers you a quick and easy way to make a huge difference to your health.
Switching sugary drinks to water can:
- Switch off tooth decay
- Switch on weight loss
- Switch on health benefits
- Switch on saving money
What are sugary drinks?
Sugary drinks, also known as sugar-sweetened beverages, are the major source of sugars consumed in New Zealand. These include any beverage that has added sugar such as carbonated or fizzy drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks and juices, powdered drinks, cordials, flavoured milks and waters. A 600mL bottle of soft drink can contain 16 teaspoons of sugar, over 1000 kilojoules, and provides absolutely no nutritional value. This is nearly three times the recommended daily intake of sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends a maximum daily sugar intake of six teaspoons for adults.
How can I check how much sugar is in a drink?
A simple way to work out is to remember that 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 standard teaspoon of sugar. So if a drink has 22 grams of sugar in it then it has 5.5 teaspoons of sugar. The nutritional information panel will indicate how many grams of sugar is in a drink. Look at the amount per 100ml under the ‘Carbohydrate’ section.
Unfortunately, the panel does not differentiate between natural and added sugars. Examples of drinks with natural sugars are milk and 100% natural fruit juice. You could also check the ingredients for added sugars as it may be called different names such as sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, raw sugar, malt extract and molasses.
Is it ok to drink flavoured or sparkling mineral water?
Flavoured mineral waters, vitamin waters and sports waters in general contain added sugars and should be switched to water. Flavoured mineral waters can also be flavoured with acidic additives which increases your risk of tooth erosion.
Plain mineral water or soda water generally does not contain added sugars so are fine to drink while completing this Challenge. However, they are still slightly erosive for your teeth so tap water is still your best option.
You can make your own healthy flavoured water by adding natural ingredients like fruit, vegetables and herbs to your water.
What about fruit juice?
Fruit drinks are usually a combination of added sugars and fruit flavour. Only 100% natural fruit juice contains natural sugars. The main problem is that both contains no fibre and is very high in sugar. It’s best to eat your fruit. However, small amounts of 100% fruit juice is ok to have occasionally, whereas fruit drinks should be avoided.
What about alcoholic drinks?
Alcohol isn’t part of the Switch to Water Challenge. However, since sugary drinks are often used as a mixer for spirits it is worthwhile to cut down on these drinks. Also, to reduce the risk to your health, you should limit how much alcohol you drink. See Low-risk alcohol drinking advice on the HPA website – the recommended limits depend on your age, gender and other factors.
Are diet drinks okay?
Although diet beverages contain no calories, they have a high acid content which harms teeth. They have the potential to displace water and milk which are the best drink choices. They also maintain a desire for sweet food and drinks.
What can I drink while exercising?
For general exercise less than an hour water is the best choice for hydration. If you’re exercising intensively for longer than an hour, electrolytes can help to replace your fluids faster. Though sports drinks can assist with hydration while exercising for longer period, they often contain a lot of sugar and are high in kilojoules. If you are exercising to lose weight and want to maintain healthier teeth, then water is the best choice for hydration.
Why is the fluoride in water important?
Fluoride offers a simple and effective way to help protect your teeth against decay. Find out more about community water fluoridation here www.fluoridefacts.govt.nz
Does filtered tap water contain fluoride?
Most filtering systems don’t remove any fluoride from the tap water. However, please check with your brand manufacturers to make sure that it doesn’t remove fluoride.