Sugary drinks, also called sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), contribute significantly to type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and tooth decay.
Sugary drinks include sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened juice drinks (punch and lemonade), and sweetened teas and coffees. Sugary drinks are the number one source of calories in Americans’ diets and contribute almost half of Americans' added sugars intake. CSPI is working to support healthy beverage choices through education, pricing strategies, increasing access to healthy beverages in community settings, shining a spotlight on Big Soda’s deceptive practices, and taking Big Soda to court.
DC spoken word artist Té Speight's message exposes the aggressive marketing of the sugary drink industry to communities of color, and inspires actions to reduce consumption and reclaim community health.
State and Local Policy
State and local policies have the power to transform the food environment, making it easier to make healthy choices and ensuring that sugary drinks are never the default option.
- Sugary Drink Taxes
- Sugar Warning Labels
- Healthy Retail
- Restaurant Kids' Meals
- Food Service Guidelines
- School Foods
CSPI created an interactive map of sugary drink policy professionals using data supplied by attendees of our 2021 Sugary Drink Summit. Use this resource to find potential partners for sugary drink reduction work in your area and beyond!
CSPI works at the federal level to empower Americans with information and support in maintaining a healthy diet. Our major victories includes getting sugary drinks out of schools, and successfully petitioning to have added sugars declared on Nutrition Facts labels. Our recent work includes securing introduction of the SWEET Act, a federal excise tax on sugary drinks, fighting for federal front-of-package labeling, and promoting healthy diets through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Soda companies spend billions of dollars a year telling us that soda leads to happiness, but the industry's shadowy practices tell a different story. CSPI investigates these practices and leverages public pressure to change corporate behavior. Some of our reports include:
- Marketing Coke to Kids – From Santa Clause to cuddly polar bears, the soda giant courts children despite commitments to the contrary. The actual results of Coca-Cola's predatory marketing practices look more like this.
- Carbonating the World – What’s a soda company to do when sales decline in wealthy countries? Prey upon lower-income countries.
- Soda on the Menu – Some restaurants have changed the beverage that comes with their kids’ meals from soda to healthier options, but 85% of the top restaurant chains continue to sabotage parents by automatically serving soda.
CSPI exposes soda companies’ political spending to block policies that are proven to improve health, like modest taxes and product warning labels. Momentum for these common-sense policies is building in the U.S. and around the world with more and more cities—and even entire countries—taking action to keep the soda giants in check.
See more resources on Corporate Actions.
CSPI’s Litigation Department has fought for more transparent labeling of SSBs in the courts. For example, CSPI’s attorneys have represented consumers in lawsuits alleging that Coca-Cola misled the public about the health harms of SSBs, Coca-Cola’s VitaminWater was deceptively marketed as a healthful alternative to soda, and Jamba Juice misled consumers about the amount of whole fruit and vegetables in its smoothies. You can learn more about the Litigation Department’s work challenging deceptive labeling and marketing practices here.
Sugary Drink Educational Resources
- 400 Years (Te Speight)
- Real Bears / Los Verdaderos Osos
- Change the Tune / Change the Tune (subtítulos en español)
- The Happiness Stand
- Share a Coke with Obesity
- 2021 Soda Summit Opening Plenary
- 2021 Soda Summit Plenary: Highlighting Community Impact for the Win
- 2021 Soda Summit Plenary: Sugary Drink Reduction Policy - Success and Innovation from Abroad
Other Important Resources and Partners
- American Heart Association
- Boston Public Health Commission: Sugar Smarts
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Cut Back on Sugary Drinks
- ChangeLab Solutions: SSB Restrictions
- CHOICES: Cost Effectiveness and Impact of Excise Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Sugary Drinks
- Healthy Beverage Partnership: Hidden Sugar
- Health Care Without Harm: Healthy Beverages Implementation
- Healthy Food America: Sugary Advocacy Toolkit
- Healthy Food America: Taxing Sugary Drinks
- The Praxis Project
- Public Health Law Center: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Salud America!: Sugary Drinks
- Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center: The Pros and Cons of Taxing Sweetened Beverages Based on Sugar Content
- UCLA Center for Health Policy: Still Bubbling Over – Policy Recommendations
- UCONN Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity: Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Resources
- UCSF: SugarScience
- Voices for Healthy Kids: Stop Sugary Drinks from Hooking our Kids
- World Health Organization: Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases