It seems like in no time at all Sugar has gone from the perceived image of being completely harmless to two major blows within the course of a week. Last week the American Heart Association warned of the dangers of too much sugar consumption citing that Americans should not consume more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in a day for women and 9 teaspoons of sugar in a day for men. This week the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for New York City has launched a campaign targeting the dangers of consuming too much sugar from liquid sources such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened iced teas. The campaign is called “Pouring On The Pounds” and features some aggressively graphic imagery of a sugary beverage being poured into a glass, however before the liquid hits the glass, it’s become a “glob” of fat.
The campaign asks “Are You Pouring On The Pounds?” and then recommends replacing the sugar loaded beverages with water, seltzer, or low-fat milk as a substitute. The heart of the campaign is definitely the visual as their ads feature a soda bottle shaped a lot like a Coca-Cola bottle, a sports drink bottle that resembles Gatorade, and a sweetened iced tea that looks a lot like Snapple. Obviously they can’t show the brands, but are trying to aim for ones you can identify from the shapes of their bottles. The gross image of the fat in the glass, conveniently overflowing out of the glass is very powerful. The image seems to be designed to get people to pay attention to what they’re drinking. It’s all to easy to forget about the liquids we drink in a day when taking a look at how much sugar we consume in a day. Most people can easily see the foods we eat as a source, but liquids we tend to forget because we don’t always see them as food too.
Blogger, Cathy Noonas for the nycHealthy, takes a look at a typical day indicating that for the average person it takes roughly 2,000 calories a day to maintain current weight, and when a person consumes an iced white chocolate mocha with breakfast, a sweetened iced tea with lunch, an afternoon soda, and a sports drink at the gym, that’s approximately 920 calories leaving only 1,080 calories left for the food eaten all day. Cathy writes that it’s no wonder people are getting fatter, because the liquid calories just add up and people don’t even notice it. The problem with the liquid calories is that they don’t really contribute to a sense of feeling full, so it causes further consumption. Click here to read her entry for nycHealthy.
Fortunately, the campaign is not just about scaring people with the dangers of sugar, it’s also there to provide information to help solve the problem too. They’ve released tips and strategies for cutting out the sugar loaded beverages through both a press release as well as a Health Bulletin which is kind of like an action guide to provide further information. They’ve even released the ads in Spanish as well to help ensure the widest reach of the message. Click here if you’d like to see the press release. Click here for the informative Health Bulletin. And click here to view the ads, which as my mentor Jorge Cruise recommends, print them out and stick them on your refrigerator to inspire you to drink something else. The Spanish versions of the ads can be seen by clicking here. And you can also click here to visit the website for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
I hope that other major cities also take pro-active measures to combat the dangers of sugar for their citizens. All it takes is a little awareness and habits can change. And the sugar loaded beverages are things we can certainly live without.