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Why ReThink Your Drink?


Facts and Figures

Review these materials highlighting the importance of ReThinking Your Drink

Questions and Answers

The following are common questions related to the Rethink Your Drink campaign that you may encounter. We have provided state approved responses based on the existing science and research.

Why Rethink Your Drink?

The campaign provides nutrition education and teaches skills, such as label reading, to help people make healthier dietary choices.

The Rethink Your Drink campaign is helping Californians learn about the large amount of added sugar and empty calories in popular sugary drinks. The Campaign also wants Californians to know that sugary drinks may lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.1,2

There are many causes of obesity. Why focus on drinks alone?

Research shows sugary drinks are the largest contributor of added sugar in the American diet.3
46 percent of added sugar in the diets of Americans comes from sugary drinks.3

The capaign messages are grounded in the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
“Reduce intake of sugar-sweetened beverages… Sugar-sweetened beverages provide excess calories and few essential nutrients to the diet.”4

Shouldn’t parents decide what their children drink?

Parents want the best for their children, however, the environment where children live may not be conducive to helping them make the healthiest choices.

When it comes to childhood obesity, parents certainly have a big role to play. But parents face a big challenge because sugary drinks are widely available and the industry spends more than half a billion dollars per year on advertising.5

Isn’t juice just like soda?

100% juice provides added dietary benefits, but because both juice and sugary drinks are high in sugar, and can easily be over consumed, our campaign encourages parents to limit their children's juice consumption to the recommendation of small amounts up to 4 to 6 ounces, and to serve water instead of sugary drinks.

It’s the couch, not the can.

Consumption of excess calories requires additional physical activity for weight maintenance. For example, a 154 lb. individual would have to walk for nearly an hour to burn off the calories in a 20-ounce cola.6
The average California adolescent drinks 39 pounds of sugar from sugary drinks every year!7

Are diet sodas a better alternative?

Evidence is mixed. The best alternative is a glass of water. Clean, cool, and refreshing water is: sugar-free, calorie-free, and cost-free.

What about flavored milk?

We are dedicated to reducing added sugar in all the beverages children drink. For less added sugar, offer kids unflavored lowfat 1% or nonfat milk. Adults may believe that their kids will not drink milk unless it is flavored but we need to provide kids access to the healthiest choices so they don’t get used to drinking only milk with added sweeteners. Water and unflavored lowfat 1% or nonfat milk are best for health, so try those drinks first.

My kid plays soccer so we give him sports drinks. What’s wrong with that?

Even when children exercise vigorously for an hour, experts agree that water works best for rehydration.8
A 20-ounce serving of a typical sports drink has 9 teaspoons of added sugar.

To reduce your child’s sugar intake, offer water before, during, and after exercise.

This sounds like “nanny government.” Why are you trying to limit people’s choices?

Our campaign is working to provide people with more choices and providing the information people need to make wiser, healthier choices.

Californians deserve healthy and affordable drink options where they work, shop, live, learn and play.
What’s wrong with an occasional treat of soda?

Sugary drinks are not being consumed as an occasional treat. In California, 62% of adolescents drink one or more sugary drinks a day.6

A 20 ounce cola contains nearly 17 teaspoons of added sugar. That’s why the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends individuals limit their intake.4

  1. Woodward-Lopez G, Kao J, Ritchie L. To what extent have sweetened beverages contributed to the obesity epidemic? Public Health Nutrition. Sep 23, 2010:1-11.
  2. Johnson R, et al. Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Journal of the American Heart Association 2009, vol. 120, pp. 1011-1020.
  3. Guthrie JF, Morton JF. Food sources of added sweeteners in the diets of Americans. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2000;100(1):43-51.
  4. United States Department of Health and Human Services, U. S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Chapter Two: Balancing Calories to Manage Weight, page 16.
  5. Sugar Water Gets a Facelift: What Marketing Does for Soda. Berkeley Media Studies Group, 2009.
  6. United States Department of Health and Human Services, U. S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, Table 4. Calories/Hour Expended in Common Physical Activities. Accessed May 15, 2012.
  7. Babey SH, Jones M, Yu H, Goldstein H. Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California. UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and California Center for Public Health Advocacy, 2009.
  8. UC Berkeley Center for Weight and Health. Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Drinks. (2007)

Download this information in a pdf: Common Q&As

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Student, Family and Community Support DepartmentSan Francisco Unified School District