by Clare O'Shea, Media and Communications Officer

Melbourne barista, Mike Dupes

You wouldn’t know it now, but Melbourne barista Mike Dupes drank nearly half a litre of soft drink a day throughout his teen years, weighing in at over 120kg at his heaviest.

Twenty years ago Mike started to make positive changes to his everyday life by coupling healthy eating with regular exercise.

He soon realised continuing to drink soft drinks provided no benefits and were counter-productive to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Since making the change Mike has shed around 30 kilos.

“They looked good, they tasted good and they were always accessible,” the 31-year-old said.

“I used to have a couple of cans of Fanta or Coke a day and only drank out of a force of habit”

“I noticed people who were leading active lifestyles weren’t drinking soft drink and that motivated me even more”

By cutting back on sugary soft drinks, Mike has reduced his risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay, plus a range of other weight-related health problems. And now, with new research from Cancer Council Victoria and the University of Melbourne revealing sugary drink consumption can increase the risk of cancer, it looks like he has reduced this risk too.

The study found drinking soft drinks is associated with increased cancer risk, regardless of whether or not a person is overweight.

Mike isn’t the only young sweet-toothed Aussie to drink soft drinks without realising the potential health impacts. Shockingly, figures show around half of Australian children aged 2 to 18 drink sugary drinks every day.

“If I had known just how bad they were for me back then I wouldn’t have thought about touching them”

Releasing the new research findings last week, Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper urged more people to understand the connection between soft drink consumption and the associated health impacts.

These new findings add to the obesity-related risk associated with soft drinks and provide yet another timely reminder for us to rethink sugary drink and reach for water.

Ready to give up the sweet stuff? Check out LiveLighter’s top tips for cutting back on sugary drinks, or try their refreshing mint or cucumber flavoured drinks that aren’t packed with sugar.