Cut Back the Sugar
|October 19, 2011||Posted by Lauren under Nutrition|
I know – who am I kidding? You can’t really miss these Mountain Dew colored buses. Just for a fun comparison, here is what the RIPTA buses normally look like:
If the huge spoonful of sugar on the side of the bus doesn’t make a statement, the lime green color certainly will.
The new campaign, which will run for 3 months, is aimed at raising awareness in parents of young children. But even though sugar sweetened beverages like soda are devoid of any nutritional value and have been linked to overweight and obesity, particularly in children (sources here and here), the campaign isn’t asking people to give them up altogether. Instead, the main message is to simply “cut back the sugar, one drink at a time.” Which, in my opinion, is at least a start.
For more information about sugar-sweetened beverages and Rhode Island’s campaign, please click here.
You wouldn’t let your kids eat this much sugar. So why let them drink it?
I am not a soda drinker, and I don’t really like soda companies (I have other vices when it comes to sugar. Particularly when it’s combined with butter and chcolate). I’ve written my thoughts about soda and the way soda companies
weasel advertise their way into our everyday lives before, and if anything, my feelings have only grown more negative since then.
I get that soda tastes good. And that lemonade is refreshing. And that you might actually need Gatorade to keep you hydrated/fueled during a long, hot run. But do kids really need to drink this stuff? There’s a big difference between 100% juice and a Capri Sun – which contains a lot of sugar. In an age of over-stimulation, do children really need another substance to make it worse?
I know what you may be thinking – I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent. And maybe if I was one, I wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with giving my children these drinks. Maybe.
But the point is that I don’t think people (myself included) often realize just how much sugar they’re drinking. It’s easy to guess with soda. We all know it isn’t good for us. But juice and other flavored drinks? Sometimes it’s deceptive.
Did you know a 24 oz can has 72 grams of sugar – and 270 calories, all from sugar?
Which is why I think that a campaign that raises awareness about these sugary drinks is important. And compared to the very graphic “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign launched in New York City a couple of years ago, these ads seem kind of tame.
In case you haven’t seen the NYC ads before, they basically show fat being poured from drink containers into glasses. Some ads I’ve seen have gone so far as to show a person actually drinking the disgusting fat globs. You can watch that lovely display here. It definitely leaves an impression. But is it believable?
I work in the field of public health. I’m bombarded on a daily basis with these types of messages. I know the risk factors for obesity and other chronic conditions like diabetes. And I know that the situation in this country is pretty serious.
So I’m biased. I like seeing things like this because the message is ingrained in me. In fact, I would actually like it if the ads went further. But I know not everyone feels the same. And the majority of people probably don’t think that a bus with a huge spoonful of sugar on the side is all that exciting. It’s okay – I know I’m a public health nerd.
Which is why I really want to know what you think of the advertisements and the campaign’s overall message. Like? Dislike? Do you think it could be effective? Or does it not really leave a lasting impression? Thoughts about how useful something like this is? Please share!