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Sugary Soft Drinks Still Account for 32% of Beverages Sold at Schools But Water is On the Rise

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:34pm

A new report from the beverage industry (think soft drinks, etc.) touts the fact that school vending machines are offering fewer high-calorie soft drinks today.

While at first blush, that certainly sounds like good news, the changes aren't all that dramatic when you look at the figures.

Does the beverage industry deserve high marks when 32% of drinks sold at schools for the 2006-2007 school year were still full calorie, sugary sodas?

Granted, this is a modest improvement from 2004, when non-diet soda soda accounted for 47% of beverages making their way into our children's bellies when they plunked down cash at school.

USA Today (thanks to the AP) revealed that this is the industry-generated "first report card since agreeing in May 2006 to pull non-diet soft drinks from the vast majority of public and private schools over the next three years."

While the news is somewhat heartening, don't you think our nation's kids would benefit more from no soda at all sold at schools?

Despite my less-than-ecstatic reaction, I still welcome progress of any kind, and it was good to learn about the 22.8% increase in the volume of bottled water in school vending machines. (But I'm unclear -- does that mean more water is stocked or sold?)

By the way, I get very nervous when reading reports which imply or hint that it's still OK to sell diet drinks in the schools. After chatting with a number of experts and looking at quite a bit of literature about the subject, I am not a fan of these falsely sweetened drinks.

If you want to cut down on sugar and are thinking of going the artificial sweetener route, please first read the eye-opening questions and answers about Splenda, aspartame, sugar alcohols, etc. in the FAQ section of my book SUGAR SHOCK!

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