Sugary Beverages - Minnesota Department of Health

Sugary Beverages

Know the Risks of Sugar-sweetened Beverages

Sugary drinks are the #1 source of added sugars in the U.S. diet.1 Examples of sugary beverages include regular soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters, and coffee and tea beverages with added sugars.

What's the concern?

  • infographic that shows how much sugar in soda3 of 4 Minnesota students reported consuming at least one sugary drink on a typical day.2
  • One 20 oz. soda contains 17 teaspoons of added sugars.3That's nearly 3 times the maximum the American Heart Association recommends for children in one day.

It's not only a concern for our kids! Drinking just one can of soda per day increases adults’ risk of type 2 diabetes by 26 percent.4 Sugary drinks are also a major contributor to obesity, heart disease and tooth decay.

What Diabetes is Costing Minnesota

Costs related to lost worker productivity have doubled in just five years.5, 6

Medical costs among adults:

  • $2.3 billion in 20125
  • $3.5 billion in 20176

Without major changes, 40 percent of today’s children and youth are likely to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. For communities of color and Native Americans, it’s around 50 percent.7

What You Can Do

Ask schools, restaurants and stores to help

  • Ask your school to limit sugar-sweetened drinks at events and ensure healthy options are available.
  • Ask restaurants to offer low-fat milk as part of kids’ meals.
  • Ask stores to create a healthy checkout area with no sugary drinks to tempt children.

Make smart choices

  • Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. (Get more information at Bottled Water: Questions and Answers)
  • Carry a water bottle and refill it during the day.
  • Keep a jug or bottles of water in your fridge.
  • Add slices of lemon, lime or cucumber to your water or drink sparkling water.
  • Add a splash of 100 percent fruit juice to sparkling water.
  • Serve water or low-fat milk with meals.
  • Be a role model for family and friends by choosing healthy beverages.

Learn More

1Guthrie, J.F., Morton, J.F. Food sources of added sweeteners in the diets of Americans. J Am Diet Assoc. 2000;100:43–51.

2Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, Human Services and Public Safety (2016). 2016 Minnesota Student Survey Statewide Tables. Retrieved from

3Wang, Y.C., Coxson, P., Shen, Y.M., Goldman, L., Bibbins-Domingo, K. A penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would cut health and cost burdens of diabetes. Health Aff (Millwood). 2012;31(1):199-207

4Malik, V.S., Popkin, B.M., Bray, G.A., Despres, J.P., Willett, W.C., Hu, F.B. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:2477-83.

5American Diabetes Association . Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Diabetes Care 2013 Apr; 36(4): 1033-1046.

6American Diabetes Association . Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. in 2017. Diabetes Care 2018;41:917–928.

7Gregg, E.,W., Zhuo, X., Cheng, Y.J., Albright, A.L., Venkat Narayan, K.M., Trends in lifetime risk and years of life lost due to diabetes in the USA, 1985–2011: a modelling study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 2014:2(11):867-874.

Updated Tuesday, 26-Feb-2019 14:06:35 CST