Philip Fine 

Sweet drinks are helping to increase daily caloric averages, according to a study published in the US's Obesity Research.

The research found average world consumption up by 74 calories a day, with sugar making up a larger proportion of that increase. Americans, for example, consumed 83 more calories in sweeteners in the last 26 years.

The study's co-author Barry Popkin, a professor at the University of North Carolina, says 80 per cent of those sweeteners came from drinks. "This study clearly documents for this country that the increase in added sugar intake between 1977 and 1996 is caused mainly by soft drinks and fruit drinks."