A frozen drink may seem like a refreshing (and cheap) beverage to enjoy on a hot day, but this frozen treat could be having a devastating effect on your health.

It’s cheap and tempting – parting with a gold coin for a large super-chilled frozen cola or slushee on a 30 degree day in Brisbane… maybe your mouth is watering right now…

Sure, it might cool you down quick and cost as little as a dollar, but new stats show the costs on your future health could be high. Some frozen drinks have up to 25 teaspoons of sugar in just one serve. That’s half a cup! Obviously, quaffing half a cup of sugar in one drink grossly exceeds recommendations for a healthy, balanced diet.

Alas, many consumers aren’t aware of the hidden sugars, or what they mean for our health.

Drinking just one can of non-diet soft drink a day (with about 10 teaspoons of sugar) can lead to potential weight gain of 6.75kg in one year – if you don’t offset the calories with exercise or healthier food choices. If you think that’s bad, you’ll be shocked to learn that a standard 600ml bottle of soft drink contains around 16 teaspoons of sugar.

Many popular electrolyte drinks are also laden with sugar, containing about nine teaspoons in a 600ml bottle. Some caffeinated energy drinks have particularly harmful concentrations of sugar, liquefying up to six teaspoons of sugar in just 250ml!

So why is so much sugar so bad? We know that an unhealthy diet contributes to overweight and obesity, increasing a person’s risks of a range of chronic diseases, including some cancers.

Many of us may not realise the direct link between sugar consumption and risk of cancer – but up to one third of all cancer cases (and all cancer deaths) can be prevented through simple lifestyle choices – including having a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.

It’s important to avoid excess sugar intake (especially in treats with hidden sugars, like slushees!) and it’s equally important to get informed and understand what’s really in our food and drink. Is there added salt or saturated fat that we are unaware of? And how much sugar really is in our favourite office snacks like muesli bars or protein balls?

For a healthy and rehydrating beverage, opt for chilled water on a hot day (flavour it naturally with strawberry, lemon, basil, oranges, blueberries, watermelon or mint!) or low-fat milk with no added sugar. The most recent stats show about 37 per cent of daily energy intake for most Queenslanders comes from discretionary foods that are high in saturated fat, salt and sugar and have little nutritional value.

Next time you’re hot and sweaty on a summer’s day, go for healthy food and drinks and remember that every sip from a frozen drink could be doing you damage.

Raise your glass to health and happiness!