Play Every Day’s new messages show how one sugary drink a day adds up / Play Every Day Update


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One sugary drink a day adds up

NOVEMBER 29, 2023 — How do kids consume more than 6 bags of sugar in a year?


Image of little girl playing with a pile of sugar on the counter next to powdered drink mixes, some have as much as 8 teaspoons of sugar per drink.

They have just one sugary drink every day.


Alaska’s Play Every Day campaign is sharing new messages that show how sugar adds up quickly for little kids. The campaign’s new Weighed Down with Sugar video explores how the 3 teaspoons of added sugar in a fruit-flavored drink pouch or the 8 teaspoons in a small bottle of a fruit drink may not seem like a lot. But one of these sweetened drinks every day can add up to about a cup of sugar by the end of the week. One sweetened drink every day for a year can add up to more than 6, 4-pound bags of sugar.


“A few teaspoons of added sugar in one drink may not sound like much, but consuming that every day can add up to too much sugar for kids,” said Diane Peck, registered dietitian with Alaska’s Physical Activity and Nutrition program. “Over a year of drinking one sweetened drink a day, kids will have consumed a lot of added sugar and calories that can cause weight gain and health problems.”


Cut back on sugar by serving water or plain milk 

Play Every Day is sharing new messages as videoshandouts and more to show how sugar can add up day after day and increase chances of developing health problems for children and adults. These health concerns include cavities, type 2 diabetes, unhealthy weight gain, and heart disease. The campaign’s new messages also explain why sugary drinks can be so confusing for parents trying to buy healthy options for their families. 


The front labels of drinks often focus on what companies want you to see about their products. They can be filled with buzz words and misleading images. Words like “Vitamin C” and “All Natural” can make the drink appear healthier than it is. Drinks can be called “Organic” and still be loaded with added sugar. Front labels for drinks may show fruits that aren’t even in the drink.

To find out what’s really in the drink, look for the facts on the Nutrition Facts label. That label is often on the back of the drink or on the side of the box when buying multiple drinks at once. It has a line in the “Total Carbohydrate” section that says “Includes Added Sugars.” This line tells you how many grams of added sugar that item has in a serving size.


To cut back on added sugar, look for foods and drinks that have 0 grams listed on the “Includes Added Sugars” line. That’s the case for healthy drinks like plain milk and unsweetened plain or sparkling water.


Share Play Every Day materials at no cost

Share these new free Play Every Day materials with schools, preschools, child care centers, doctors, dentists and more to help families better understand what’s in the foods and drinks served to children.