Sugar Advocacy Toolkit

Obesity remains epidemic. Diabetes is rampant and striking younger children. Heart, liver, and dental diseases afflict millions and cost billions. One key contributor to these chronic health issues: There is too much sugar in our food and beverage products.

It’s not just a matter of telling people not to consume sugar. Food makers add sugar to 68 percent of packaged foods—and most of us are unaware of it all. Soda companies alone spend a billion dollars a year marketing sugary soda, sports, energy, and fruit-flavored drinks to children, youth, and other vulnerable populations. We are awash in added sugar, and for the sake of our own and our kids’ health, we need to do something about it.

Most likely, you are here because you agree and want to do something. This resource is designed to help you learn about the actions you can take to knock sugar back to healthy levels. Here you will find a range of activities and policies, from the local level to the state and national levels, to engage in or support. Healthy Food America’s toolkit will show you where to find resources, models to follow, and allies with whom you can join forces.

And, of course, if you have questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Follow the links below to learn more and find information on advocating for the policies most relevant to you and your community.

Why take on sugar?

Start here with the key facts about sugar and health and why reducing exposure to it is so critical. Learn where all the sugar in our diets comes from and the key places to focus if we want to knock sugar back to healthy levels. We also connect you to some excellent sources for localized data on health impacts. Learn more.

Reducing Sugar Exposure

Where to start in advocating for less sugar in our foods and beverages? We break it down to six key tools for ratcheting down on sugar: the price, labeling, accessibility and marketing of sugary products; the awareness of health dangers associated with them; and ultimately, the way they are formulated. Learn more.

Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks are far and away the largest source of added sugars we consume, accounting for nearly half. For that reason, advocates across the country are focused on ways to return them to the small role they played in our diets until just a few decades ago. We look at taxes, health-warning labels and other tactics to take them on. Learn more.

Not just for drinks

The policies in this section can be applied to sugary products of all kinds, whether in “kids’ meals” at restaurants, in schools, hospitals or other institutions. We also take a look at phenomena such as campus “pouring rights” contracts that sell soda and snack companies exclusive access to college kids, and how nutrition labels can help parents protect their kids. Learn more.

Changing Industry

Perhaps the most important and effective reforms will come from the food and beverage industries themselves, whether voluntarily, from consumer demand or regulation. We look at ways to limit marketing to children, youth and other vulnerable populations. We also examine ways to get industry to reformulate high-sugar products so that they are no longer such a menace to health. Learn more.

Map the Movement

There’s a movement underway across the United States to reduce sugar consumption back to healthy levels. Our interactive map lets you see what’s happening and where. Learn more.

get updates