Scientific evidence consistently supports the conclusion that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) increase a person’s risk of being overweight or obese. SSB consumption is also associated with diabetes, elevated triglycerides, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gout and dental caries.
With nearly 17 teaspoons of sugar in each 20-oz. serving, SSBs are the largest single source of added sugar in the American diet. California adults who drink one or more sodas a day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese. The calories from drinking one 12-ounce can of a sugar-sweetened beverage a day (150 kcal) can result in gaining 15 extra pounds a year.
In 2012, Rady Children’s launched Rethink Your Drink (RYD), a multi-pronged initiative that includes education, environmental changes and policy changes. RYD was designed to provide education about the health effects of added sweeteners in beverages, increase the availability and consumption of healthy drink options and make healthy beverages the standard in our organization. As part of the initiative, education materials were created for employees and families in our community.