As one of our strategies to address community health needs, including obesity and chronic disease, Fairview has launched a new effort called ReThink Your Drink.

ReThink Your Drink helps educate the public about the health impacts of sugary drinks, encouraging people to think twice about their beverage choices.

With this in mind, Fairview is no longer selling sugar-sweetened beverages in our hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

Why do we care about sugar?

Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in our diets—a regular bottle of soda can contain as much as 16 teaspoons of added sugar. Added sugars in large quantities equal a lot of calories with no nutritional value, which can lead to negative health effects such as weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Fairview has taken several steps to create a healthy food environment, including removing fryers from our cafeterias and placing healthy options closer to cash registers. ReThink Your Drink is a step to create a healthier beverage environment for our communities.

What to expect as a patient or visitor

Patients and visitors will notice that sugar-sweetened beverages are no longer available for sale in our cafeterias, vending machines and retail areas. However, any individual is still welcome to bring a sugar-sweetened beverage into our facilities to consume.

Patients with a medical need for a sugar-sweetened beverage will still be able to have that need met, in coordination with their care team.

A physician’s thoughts

1 Peterson_Jeremy_1043413214_ARWe asked Jeremy Peterson, MD, Fairview Northland Medical Center some questions about sugar-sweetened beverages.

What are some negative health effects from sugar-sweetened beverages?

Anything that equals extra calories equals extra weight. That, in turn, increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, certain types of cancers and depression. Drinking our calories also does not trigger the same response in our stomachs that eating the same number of calories does, so our stomach does not tell our brain it is full as quickly. This results in over consumption of calories, which tips the calorie equation more toward the weight gain side of the scale.

What advice would you give a patient who asks about consuming sugar-sweetened beverages?

For those of us who are looking to trim extra calories out of our diet, focusing on the calories we drink is a perfect place to start. A 12-ounce can of regular soda has 150 calories and a 20-ounce bottle of soda has 260 calories. That may not seem like a lot, but when the average diet should contain roughly 2,000 calories, that’s 7.5 percent and 13 percent, respectively, of one’s daily calorie allotment in just one beverage. That adds up.

Why is it important for Fairview to take this step?

It all starts with us. It is easy to talk about good health; it’s another thing to demonstrate it. We should not be promoting health in one part of the facility and then profiting from offering poor health choices in another part.

What is your favorite healthy beverage?

Freshly brewed black coffee. It’s what gets me going in the mornings—and with zero calories.

Fairview is implementing ReThink Your Drink in partnership with the City of Minneapolis and other public health partners.