Project Title: No Sugar Drink Day
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No Sugar Drink Day

By: chudson

On April 11, 2013, Willis Lane declared a NO Sugar Drink day. Students and staff were encouraed to bring or purchase drinks that did not contain sugar. The staff's participation noted a deviation from their "usual" consumtion of sweet tea or other sweet soda drinks. 

In the week leading up to April 11, we sent home facts about how much sugar a child and an adult should have in a day.  We also gave sugar content information on various drinks such as Capri Sun and Gatorade. This was an eye opener for parents in relationship to what the recommended amount of sugar intake a day is. We researched our information from the Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association.  Every morning that week, our school nurse was on the morning announcements and shared facts and tips about sugar and our health. The results we saw were an increased number of students drinking water with their lunch. We also saw an increase in students checking the labels on things they were eating and drinking to check the amount of sugar it contained.

Below is the information that was read on announcements and shared with parents.


The American Heart Association recommends the amount of sugar calories you consume should not exceed half of your discretionary calorie intake for the day. Your discretionary calorie intake is the "extra" amount of calories in your daily diet that can come from foods that have little nutritional value. In terms of adults, this comes to about 25 g of sugar for
adult women or 37.5 g of sugar for adult men, because there are four calories per every 1 g of added sugar. For preschool children eating a 1,200- to 1,400-calorie diet, this translates into about 16.7 g per day. Children ages 4 to 8 should consume less sugar---about 12.5 g per day, because they have greater nutritional needs and have fewer discretionary calories in their daily diets. Pre-teen and teenagers should limit their intake to between 21 and 33 g of sugar per day.

"Healthful" Sugars

Remember the AHA guidelines for sugar intake are for added sugars, not for natural sugars found in carbohydrate-containing foods like fruits, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. These foods contain natural sugars, which also are known as complex carbohydrates. The body breaks these down more slowly than sugars added to cookies, cakes, pies and even salad dressings. Because your child needs complex carbohydrates for energy, these should not be eliminated from your child's diet.

Hidden Sugars

When trying to limit your child's daily sugar intake, be aware of potential hidden sugars in foods. This includes fruit juices, yogurt and milk. Check the food labels carefully and look for labels like "100% Fruit Juice," which indicates sugar has not been added. Cereals also can be sweetened with added sugar. You also can read the ingredients listing for things like altose,
sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, which indicate sugar has been added.


Helping your child consume a limited amount of sugar offers several health benefits today and in the future. Eating high-sugar foods is associated with increased incidence of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. By teaching your child
to restrict dietary sugars at an early age, you can set an example she can carry with her throughout her life.

Identifying Added Sugars

Read nutrition labels and ingredient lists to find out the type and amount of added sugars in a food or beverage. Added sugar goes by many different names, including high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, sucrose, honey, molasses, raw sugar, corn sweetener, invert sugar, corn syrup, malt syrup, fructose, glucose and dextrose.

Sugar and Heart Disease

Excess sugar intake can cause cardiovascular disease. A 2010 study led by Dr. Miriam Vos, a professor of pediatrics at Emory University, found that people who consumed an average amount of added sugar had increased blood levels of harmful fats, such as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and decreased levels of protective HDL cholesterol. Researchers believe these effects are related to fructose and to high-fructose corn syrup in particular, an inexpensive industrial sweetener used in most soft drinks and in many processed, packaged and canned foods.

Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes

People who drink just one 12-oz. serving of soda or other sweetened soft drinks each day have a 15 percent higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes, and those who drink two servings increase their risk by 26 percent, according to an analysis of data from 11 studies performed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the November 2010 issue of the journal "Diabetes Care." One 12-oz. soft drink contains an average of 10 tsp. of sugar, which exceeds the daily limits of added sugar for both men and women. You'd be hard-pressed to find a child who doesn't love sugary foods, and chances are the processed or packaged food your child eats has some amount of added sugar. New research suggests that this trend has spiraled out of control. A childhood sweet tooth isn't as harmless as it might seem. Our country's addiction to
sugar is adding up to serious health consequences for families, and experts are saying it should be reined in. The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released new guidelines limiting the amount of added sugar considered acceptable for a healthy diet. The guidelines, published in the August 2009 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, also connect increased sugar consumption with a variety of health problems, including obesity and high blood pressure. The new guidelines state most women should consume no more than 100 calories, and men no more than 150 calories, of added sugar. These numbers average out to about 6 to 9 teaspoons, or 25 to 37.5 grams, of sugar a day. Preschoolers with a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories shouldn't consume any more than 170 calories, or about 4 teaspoons, of added sugar a day. Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons a day. (In order to accommodate all the nutritional requirements for this age group, there are fewer calories available for discretionary allowances like sugar.) As your child grows into his pre-teen and teen years, and his caloric range increases to 1,800 to 2,000 a day, the maximum amount of added sugar included in his daily diet should be 5 to 8 teaspoons.

The Scary Truth

Are you ready for the scary truth? A study conducted by the AHA found children as young as 1-3 years already bypass the daily recommendations, and typically consume around 12 teaspoons of sugar a day. By the time a child is 4-8 years old, his sugar consumption skyrockets to an average of 21 teaspoons a day. The same study found 14-18 year old children intake the most sugar on a daily basis, averaging about 34.3 teaspoons. In general, a statement from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 2001-2004 found the average American consumes about 355 calories of added sugar a day, or the equivalent of 22.2 teaspoons. That is about triple the recommended amount!

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