ZERO Out Sugary Beverages & Tobacco!

0The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, vs. the recommended 5-9 teaspoons.  This is 200-400% more than recommended! Sugary beverages are a leading contributor to this excess.  The average person consumes almost 100 pounds of sugar a year, with the single biggest source being sodas.  Unlike just 2-3 decades ago, teens today consume twice as much soda as they do milk.  During that same time frame, childhood obesity has skyrocketed.  In addition to risk of obesity, consuming large amounts of added sugar contributes to increased blood sugar levels, which can ultimately increase the risk of developing diabetes.

Did you know a single 8 ounce regular soda contains about 7 teaspoons of sugar?!  And who consumes only 8 ounces of soda in this day and age of 20 ounce bottles (16 teaspoons of sugar) and 64 ounce Big Gulps (56 teaspoons of sugar)? 

Many parents believe full-sugar soda is not a healthy option for their children, but they are under the impression that children’s fruit drinks are healthier.  However, ounce per ounce, fruit drinks and energy drinks generally contain as much sugar as soda.  Sugar sweetened iced teas, sports drinks and flavored waters typically contain 3-5 teaspoons of sugar per 8 ounce serving.  Even 100% fruit juices, pack a lot of calories, prompting many physicians and healthcare practitioners to encourage opting for whole fruit over juices.  Fruit juices can also contribute to early dental caries, especially when used in baby bottles and sippy cups.  The sugar in the fruit juice bathes the teeth in an environment conducive for tooth decay.

Slash out sugary beverages by replacing them with more water and nonfat milk.  Add a squeeze of lime or lemon to water to enhance the flavor and add some vitamin C.

In the 95210- Let’s Go! campaign, health experts also recommend ZERO tobacco.  Despite the fact that we have known the dangers of tobacco use for many decades, the intense marketing by tobacco companies continues to lure replacement tobacco users for the 1200 people who die daily in the United States, alone,  due to tobacco use.  Worldwide, tobacco use kills 5.4 million people a year — an average of one person every six seconds and accounts for one in 10 adults deaths.  Tobacco kills up to half of all users!  Cigarettes contain arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and 43 known carcinogens.  Urea, a chemical compound that is a major component in urine, is used to add “flavor” to cigarettes.  Tobacco use is the single-most preventable cause of death in the United States.  Even non-smokers are at risk. Annually, in the United States over 3,000 deaths from lung cancer are caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.

Ideally, no one would ever start using tobacco as it is highly addictive and a difficult habit to break.  However, for those who are interested in quitting, Tobacco Free Florida offers three free options:

·         CALL: Call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help you assess your addiction and help you create a personalized quit plan.

·         CLICK: Enroll in the Web Coach®, which will help you create your own web-based quit plan that’s right for you, visit

·         COME IN: Sign up for Quit Smoking Now group classes at your local Area Health Education Center (AHEC) by calling (877) 688-9591.

Take the challenge and begin to zero out sugary beverages and tobacco today!  To track your progress, go to

 Special thanks to the Collier County Health Department  for taking the lead on promulgating the 95210 message and to  Team Wellness Challenge, L3C, a partner of Whole Child Leon and Working Well located in Tallahassee, Florida, for allowing us to use their wonderful 95210 tracking system.

Leave a Reply