Healthy drinks `may not be that healthy`

London: "Healthy" drinks may not be that healthy -- these often contain far more sugar than people realise and can actually add up to 450 calories a day to one`s diet, researchers have warned.

A team at Glasgow University has based its findings on a survey in which it asked more than 2,000 people in the UK to estimate how much sugar was in a range of drinks, the `Daily Mail` reported.

While many overestimated the amount of sugar in fizzy beverages, they underestimated levels in smoothies and fruit juices. The researchers also found that soft drinks account for a large chunk of their recommended calorie intake.

The participants were asked to guess number of teaspoons of sugar in a range of popular drinks. They underestimated it for pure apple juice and orange juice, a caffeinated energy drink and a smoothie by between two and four teaspoons.

And for a pomegranate-based drink, they underestimated the sugar content by nearly 18 teaspoons.

The survey suggests the average person in the UK consumes 3,144 calories a week through non-alcoholic liquid intake -- this adds around 450 calories a day to one`s diets.

Prof Naveed Sattar, who led the survey, said: "What you drink can be as damaging to the body as what you eat and there is no question that consuming too many sugar-sweetened drinks can greatly contribute to abdominal obesity.

"This analysis confirms that many people are perhaps not aware of the high calorie levels in many commonly consumed drinks. Some varieties of drinks such as pure fruit juices and smoothies, perceived as healthy options, are high in sugar.

"For many people struggling with their weight, reducing their intake of such drinks and replacing with water or diet drinks would be a sensible first target to help them lessen their calorie intake."