Following last year's "Pouring on the Pounds" campaign, NYC's Health Department debuted a new series of subway billboards that urge New Yorkers to consider what goes into a large serving of sweetened soda. The answer: a shocking 26 packets of sugar. Who knew? Apparently, many New-Yorkers are aware already. In fact many New Yorkers are starting to cut back on sugary drinks, and the Health Department is trying to encourage that trend.
The spoonful of sugar we started off with a few decades ago has exploded into dozens of spoonfuls a day, and sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are added to many processed foods, making food very palatable, but quite detrimental to our health.
Too much sugar contributes to obesity and its many consequences, and can undermine normal satiety levels, motivating us to eat more than we need and create food cravings. Too much sugar may also raise blood pressure and can elevate blood triglycerides levels (a risk factor for heart disease).
And although sugar is added to many foods—breakfast cereals, condiments and desserts—soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in Americans’ diets. Soft drinks and fruit drinks combined make up almost half of an average American’s added sugar, and Americans take in an average of about 300 calories a day from sugary drinks alone. No other food or beverage has been associated as clearly to weight gain and obesity as soft drinks.
The new ads take a more rational approach to the matter. The previous ad campaign went straight for the gut, and created quite a stir:
Which approach works best in your opinion?
Full disclosure: I’m vice president of product development for Herbal Water, where we make organic herb-infused waters that have zero calories and no sugar or artificial ingredients. I’m also a pediatrician and have been promoting good nutrition and healthy lifestyle for many years.