Highlights of High Sugar Content of Fruit-Flavored Drinks…

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Health Department Launches New Ads Highlighting High Sugar Content of Fruit-Flavored Drinks, Energy Drinks, Sweet Teas, and Sports Drinks

health_sugary_drinks_sodas_300x300The Health Department today launched new ads educating New Yorkers about the added sugars found in fruit-flavored drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas and sports drinks. The new ads, which are a part of the “Pouring On the Pounds” campaign and will run on buses and TV, explain that these beverages may “sound healthy” but are packed with added sugars that lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and its serious complications. The TV ads encourage New Yorkers to replace these sugary beverages with healthier options such as water, seltzer, fat-free milk, and fresh fruit. The ads will run throughout the month of June.

“Sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit-flavored drinks sometimes sound like they’re good for us, but they are contributing to the obesity epidemic just as much as sugary soft-drinks,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner. “A 20-ounce lemonade delivers 67 grams of sugar and 260 calories, more than a typical soft drink. Replacing these sugar-laden drinks with healthier options is one simple but powerful choice New Yorkers can make to reduce their risk of obesity and diabetes.”

Sugary drinks are associated with long term weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Data from the New York City Community Health Survey also show that nine of the top 10 neighborhoods with the highest obesity rates city-wide were also the highest in sugary drink consumption. Even moderate consumption of sugary drinks can have health consequences. With every additional sugary beverage a child drinks daily, his or her odds of becoming obese increase by 60%.

Nearly 650,000 adult New Yorkers reported having diabetes in 2011, an increase of approximately 200,000 adults since 2002, according to the Health Department’s April 2013 Epi Data Brief. In addition, an estimated 230,000 adults likely had the disease but were unaware of it. Diabetes is twice as common among obese New Yorkers. Diabetes can lead to vision loss, heart disease, kidney damage which may require dialysis, and amputations.

New Yorkers can call 311 to get a Healthy Eating packet with more information and tips on how to cut back on sugary beverages. Search #PouringOnThePounds on Twitter for tips and news.

Most people don’t realize how easy it is to gain weight from drinking sugary sodas, juice drinks, sport drinks and sweetened tea and coffee drinks. Just one 20-ounce bottle of soda can pack 250 calories and the equivalent of more than 16 teaspoons of added sugars. Is the lemon-flavored iced tea any better? Not by much – with 210 calories and the equivalent of 14½ teaspoons of added sugars. Sugar-sweetened beverages add hundreds of calories to your diet each day.

Here are some tips to avoid sugary drinks:

  • Drink plenty of water. Try NYC’s own high quality water (PDF) and save both money and calories.
  • Choose fat-free milk.
  • Switch from drinking juice to eating whole fruit.
  • Skip sports drinks and energy drinks. Water is all you need.
  • Watch out for pre-sweetened coffee and tea drinks, and shakes.
  • Downsize and choose the smaller size.

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