See how quickly added sugar adds up with our new calculator

Introducing the Sugar Overload Calculator -- our newest resource for moving science to action. Americans are awash in added sugar and our new game helps people see just how much of it lurks in our food and beverage products. We selected 12 popular items that contain added sugar to help people see how quickly it adds up.

Players select the number of servings in a typical day for each item and estimate the total. The calculator determines the actual total amount of added sugar and compares it to the daily maximum recommended by both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association. 

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Under pressure, Pepsi says it will cut sugar. Can we believe it?

The timing of Pepsi’s announcement that it would reduce sugar in its soft drinks can’t help but fuel some skepticism: It comes as the beverage industry is pouring millions into fighting health-motivated soda tax measures, and days after yet another large jurisdiction – Chicago’s Cook County – proposed a sweetened beverage tax.

Indeed, Pepsi’s pledge all but acknowledges growing pressure from consumers, health experts and governments who recognize that Big Soda’s products are fueling our epidemics of diabetes and heart disease.

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Big Soda’s spending big

Big Soda is running scared and spending big.  Through their trade association, Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper, et al have now poured over $30 million into fighting taxes on sugary drinks just this year.

And that was before today’s big blow: The World Health Organization urged all countries to tax sugary drinks. “If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives,” said Dr. Douglas Bettcher, who heads WHO’s department for preventing non-communicable diseases.

This comes on the heels of an embarrassing report that unmasked how Coca-Cola and PepsiCo sponsored at least 96 national health organizations at the same time the companies were lobbying against public health bills intended to reduce consumption of sugary drinks. 

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Running scared, Big Soda ramps up spending against soda taxes

With just over a month until Election Day, Big Soda has already topped $10 million in spending against San Francisco’s sugary drink tax.  It also ramped up its spending against Oakland’s sugary drink tax to $3.8 million. Why would the American Beverage Association, funded predominantly by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, pour nearly $14 million into these campaigns?

“Bay Area success this fall could tip the national conversation,” as Lawrence Gostin, a global health law professor at Georgetown University, told the Associated Press. "More soda taxes and less soda drinking will make for a healthier country," wrote New York Times Op-Ed Columnist David Leonhardt.

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New reports show how retailers and advertisers push sugar on kids

Parents are becoming ever more concerned about the amount of sugar their kids are ingesting, yet U.S. children are eating three times the recommended daily limit. Three recent reports offer new insights as to why that is (Hint: It’s not because parents don’t care.)

The Center for Science in the Public Interest hired investigative journalist Gary Rivlin, a former business reporter for the New York Times, to look into retailer practices that push high-sugar products. The resulting report, Rigged: Supermarket Shelves for Sale, sheds light on the “pay to play” system for deciding which items are stocked on grocery shelves. 

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New report: HFA, CSPI ranked among key influencers in the soda tax debate

Data analytics firm Quid has ranked Healthy Food America (HFA) among the top health and social advocacy organizations shaping the soda tax debate. We were named along with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Public Health England, American Heart Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Quid also named our executive director, Jim Krieger, as a key individual along with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.  

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Raising SAND over Coke’s college marketing gimmicks

You have to wonder what public colleges and universities think they’re teaching their students when they partner with Coca-Cola to push soda rather than educate them about the health risks from sugary drinks.

Take McNeese State University, for example. Last week we noticed this tweet from the Lake Charles, LA university’s account encouraging students to “hug” a Coca-Cola machine to get a free soda.  

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Big Soda’s big con in Boulder

“We got conned,” said one.

“It was kind of like a scam,” said another.

That is how some Boulder businesses are describing tactics Big Soda used to dupe them into signing on as opponents of a soda tax on the November ballot. Boulder’s Daily Camera reports that many businesses connected to the soda industry’s “No on 2H” campaign are disassociating from it as a result.

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Latest soda tax campaign developments

With seven weeks until election day, the campaigns for taxes on sugary drinks are kicking into high gear.  The November ballots will include these four measures which would levy an excise tax on sugary drinks:

San Francisco’s Measure V (one-cent-per-ounce)

Oakland’s Measure HH (one-cent-per-ounce)

Albany’s Measure O1 (one-cent-per-ounce)

Boulder’s ballot item 2H (two-cents-per ounce)

It’s also been reported that the Cook County Board President is “looking hard” at a new tax on sugary soft drinks to close a $174.3 million budget gap. Cook County includes the city of Chicago, the third largest city in the United States and has a population of nearly 3 million people.

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New: Berkeley, Philadelphia and Mexico sugary drink tax policy profiles

As communities seek to address rising rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity, many are looking to emulate Berkeley, Philadelphia and Mexico, three places leading the way with excise taxes on distributors of drinks with added sugar. 

Each has a fascinating, unique story to tell with lessons to be learned. You can find some of those lessons in three new fact sheets we’re posting today with details on the taxes, how they work and how the revenue is used, as well as strategies used for successful campaigns.     

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