Workplace soft drink ban helps employees cut back

November 9, 2019 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition Topics in the News

Workplace soft drink ban helps employees cut back

Banning sales of sugar-sweetened beverages in the workplace may be one way to help employees consume fewer sugary drinks and lose excess weight, a recent study from the University of California in San Francisco suggests. 

Researchers followed 214 employees at the university after a ban on workplace soft drink sales. Participants’ average age was 41 and almost half were obese. Most of them worked in service or technical jobs, or in medical or academic jobs on campus or at the UCSF hospital. 

At the start of the study, participants consumed an average of 35 ounces a day of sweetened drinks. 

Six months after the sales ban took effect, participants’ consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas, sports or energy drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks and bottled coffee or tea drinks dropped to 18 ounces a day. Participants’ average waist circumference also decreased by 2.1 centimeters (0.83 inch) during the study. 

Education on adverse health effects of sugary drinks a motivator to cut back

The researchers didn’t just reduce sales, they educated people as to why.  Participants were aware that sugary drinks could affect liver health, even if they were not overweight. 

All of the participants were exposed to the sweetened-drinks ban, but half of them also met with health educators for brief motivational interviews designed to help them understand how much sugar is in these kinds of beverages and set goals for reducing their consumption. People in the education group also received three calls to check in on their progress in cutting back on sugary drinks over the first six months of the sales ban. 

With education and support, people reduced sugary-drink consumption by an average of 25.4 ounces a day, compared with only 8.2 ounces for people exposed to the sales ban alone. 

Among people who were not overweight or obese, average daily sugary drink consumption dropped by about 6.2 ounces a day after the sales ban, while it declined 19.6 ounces a day, on

UCSF has a free toolkit online for anyone who wants to start a workplaces sugary-drinks sales ban. 

Source:  JAMA Internal Medicine, online October 28, 2019.

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