The need to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is widely accepted, but whether artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) are a recommended alternative is a growing policy issue because of emerging evidence of potential health effects associated with excess consumption. This study aimed to establish the extent of the Australian population’s knowledge of the risks associated with consuming SSBs (e.g., soda) and ASBs (e.g., diet soda), which is essential for identifying which facets of knowledge to target with public health interventions. A national computer-assisted telephone survey of 3430 Australian adults was conducted in 2017. The survey included a range of measures to test associations between SSB and ASB knowledge and beliefs, demographic characteristics, and soda and diet soda consumption. Participants had an overall awareness that there were health risks associated with SSB and ASB consumption, but they lacked more detailed knowledge of health effects and nutritional composition of these drinks. These knowledge gaps are concerning given that SSBs and ASBs are consumed in large quantities in Australia. Public health interventions targeting consumers’ limited knowledge and perceptions of health risks associated with excess sugar, calorie intake and artificial sweeteners are essential in reducing the health burden of obesity.
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- Artificially sweetened beverages
- Population survey
- Sugar-sweetened beverages