New Zealand's self-regulation on sweet drinks does not work and sugar tax should be taken into account, according to a study from the Otago University study.
The study showed that people who drank sweet drinks were less likely to opt for a healthy diet, with an increased likelihood of eating fast foods and sweets. Also, they are less likely to read food labels.
Otago's Kirsten Robertson said that sweet drinks "do not have enough nutritional benefits and cause much damage to our country".
"New Zealand is relying on industry self-regulation and calls for better labeling so that individuals can take responsibility for their sugar intake," she said.
However, the finding that consumers of sugar are less likely to read the labeling 'raises serious questions about the likelihood of changing their behavior' if labeling had changed.
She said that New Zealand's sugar drinks are above the World Health Organization's recommendations for the sugar content, so "industry self-regulation does not work".
Robertson said taxes on the sugar industry would give consumers power, without relying on reading labels on foods.
"Findings in other countries show that national taxes will encourage industry to redesign its products by reducing sugar content and encouraging consumers to choose other alternatives," she said.
"We therefore support the recommendations on sugar taxation at the New Zealand Medical Association and the New Zealand Beverage Beverage Council."
The study examined 2,000 people and examined their diet and drink in 24 hours. More than 30 percent use a sweet drink and show unhealthy eating.