Sugary drinks even worse than sugary food - study

A Kiwi-led study has found sugary drinks are more harmful than sugary food.

Unlike other countries, we're drinking more sugary drinks than ever before, renewing calls for the Government to introduce a sugar tax.

Obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay all share one key culprit: sugar.

"We're drowning in sugary drinks," study author Dr Simon Thornley told Newshub. "You just need to walk into a supermarket and you'll see sugary drinks everywhere."

It might seem obvious, but researchers found the more you have, the worse it is.

"Sugar is sugar, but when you give it in a very high concentration and it's absorbed quickly, we think it's particularly harmful," Thornley explains.

The body finds it easier to process sugar in liquid form, meaning sweet drinks are worse than sweet treats.

While we've cut down on soft drinks, between 2002 and 2016 New Zealand's consumption of sports drinks and juice increased.

However in the UK and US, it's gone down because those countries have made sugary drinks more expensive.

"Why the Government's not interested in this policy, which we believe is going to be healthy for all New Zealanders, we don't understand," Thornley says.

In a statement, Health Minister David Clark says the country "needs to reduce sugar levels in our processed food and drink".

"As I have consistently said, the Government has no plans for a sugar tax," he added.

That means it's up to consumers to do something. Next time you feel like a sweet treat, maybe grab a bliss ball instead of a sugar-packed juice.