It's a slippery slurp to toxic fat

11 January 2018

With more than 20 teaspoons of sugar in one hit, new ad campaign shows heavy health cost of cheap frozen drinks 

A cheeky, graphic counter-campaign taking on cheap frozen drink promotions like $1 Slurpees and Frozen Cokes has hit Victorian bus and tram stops to urge Australians to rethink their sugary drink. 

Rather than tempt viewers with a frosty, frozen drink, the “Don’t Be Sucked In” campaign from LiveLighter and Rethink Sugary Drink, an alliance of 18 leading health agencies, shows a person sipping on a large cup of bulging toxic fat. 

Craig Sinclair, Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee, said while this graphic advertisement isn’t easy to look at, it clearly illustrates the risks of drinking too many sugary drinks. 

“Frozen drinks in particular contain ridiculous amounts of added sugar – even more than a standard soft drink.” 

“A mega $3 Slurpee contains more than 20 teaspoons of sugar. That’s the same amount of sugar as nearly eight lemonade icy poles, and more than three times the maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation of six teaspoons a dayi.” 

“At this time of year it’s almost impossible to escape the enormous amount of advertising and promotions for frozen drink specials on TV, social media and public transport,” Mr Sinclair said. 

“These cheap frozen drinks might seem refreshing on a hot day, but we want people to realise they could easily be sucking down an entire week’s worth of sugar in a single sitting.” 

A large frozen drink from most outlets costs just $1 – a deal that major outlets like 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks and KFC promote heavily. 

LiveLighter campaign manager and dietitian Alison McAleese said drinking a large Slurpee every day this summer could result in nearly 2kg of weight gain in a year if these extra kilojoules aren’t burnt off. 

“This summer, Aussies could be slurping their way towards weight gain, obesity and toxic fat, increasing their risk of 13 types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease, stroke and tooth decay,” Ms McAleese said. 

“When nearly two thirds of Aussie adults and a third of kids are overweight or obese, it’s completely irresponsible for these companies to be actively promoting excessive consumption of drinks completely overloaded with sugar. 

“And while this campaign focuses on the weight-related health risks, we can’t ignore the fact that sugary drinks are also a leading cause of tooth decay in Australia, with nearly half of children aged 2– 16 drinking soft drink every day.ii 

“We’re hoping once people realise just how unhealthy these frozen drinks are, they consider looking to other options to cool off. 

“Water is ideal, but even one lemonade icy pole, with 2.7tsp of sugar, is a far better option than a Slurpee or Frozen Coke.” 

Mr Sinclair said a health levy on sugary drinks is one of the policy tools needed to help address the growing impact of weight and diet-related health problems in Australia.  

“Not only can a 20% health levy help deter people from these cheap and very unhealthy drinks, it will help recover some of the significant costs associated with obesity and the increasing burden this puts on our public health care system,” he said. 

This advertising will hit bus and tram stops around Victoria this week and will run for two weeks. # 


Product – highest to lowest by tsp sugar  Tsp sugar No. of icy poles with same amount sugariv How much walking to burn one offv 
7-11 Slurpee: Cola or Raspberry, $3 Mega 20.4 7.6  1 hour and 17 minutes
Hungry Jacks Frozen Coke: Jumbo 18.3  6.9  1 hour and 10 minutes
Hungry Jacks Frozen Fanta: Mango flavour, Jumbo 18.3  6.9 1 hour and 10 minutes
7-11 Slurpee: Cola or Raspberry, $2 Super 15.4  5.7  58 minutes
McDonalds Frozen Coke: $1 large 14  5.2  53 minutes
McDonalds Frozen Fanta: Orange, $1 large 13.5  5.1  51 minutes
KFC Mountain Dew Freeze: $1 13.2  4.9  50 minutes
KFC Solo Freeze: $1 11.9  4.4  45 minutes
Hungry Jacks Frozen Fanta: Mango flavour, $1 large 11.5 4.3 43 minutes
7-11 Slurpee: Cola or Raspberry, $1 large 11.2  4.2  43 minutes
Hungry Jacks Frozen Coke: $1 large 11.5  4.3 43 minutes
KFC Pepsi Freeze: $1  10.1  3.8  38 minutes


About LiveLighter: LiveLighter® is a public health education campaign encouraging Australian adults to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active. In Victoria, the campaign is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria and Heart Foundation Victoria. In Western Australia, LiveLighter is delivered by Heart Foundation WA and Cancer Council WA. For more healthy tips, recipes and advice visit  

About Rethink Sugary Drink: Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Australian Dental Association, Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Health Services Victoria, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Diabetes Australia, Healthier Workplace WA, Kidney Health Australia, LiveLighter, The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation, Nutrition Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Stroke Foundation, Parents’ Voice, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the YMCA to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption. Visit for more information. 

Media contacts: Joanna Cooney – for interview requests for Craig Sinclair (Cancer Council Australia) or Alison McAleese (LiveLighter). M: 0423049322 E:   

A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft – CEO, Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch. M 0412487853 E:       

Note: This particular campaign, run in Victoria, looks at the sugar content of frozen sugary soft drinks. LiveLighter and Rethink Sugary Drink also recommend avoiding other frozen drinks, including thickshakes, which can contain up to (and sometimes more than) 30 teaspoons of sugar per serve.

i 10.7grams, or 2.7 tsp, of sugar in a Peters Icy Pole. Source:
ii 2007 Australian National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey
iii All stats obtained from each company’s website, and were correct as at 10 January 2018
iv See iI
v Average male