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Vanguard Health Chicago eliminates sugary drinks from hospitals

Sugary drinks

As the Chicago Tribune reported today, Vanguard Health Chicago is moving to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from its four area hospitals, including Weiss. The other hospitals include MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, and Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park.

“Sodas, sports drinks and other drinks that are artificially loaded with sugar are associated with a host of negative health effects and increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, dental problems and even cancer,” Dr. Anthony J. Tedeschi, Vanguard Health’s chief medical officer, told the Tribune. “The health care community has an obligation not only to treat but to help prevent these conditions, some of which are at epidemic levels.”

Weiss will implement this change over the next year, eliminating drinks with more than 1 tsp. of sugar per 12 oz. serving. This includes diet drinks and sweetened juices. Coke, for example, with 7 tsp. of sugar per can, will be gone. More than 6,000 employees and thousands of patients and visitors will benefit from the healthier options.

News magazine 60 Minutes reported earlier this month about new research on the toxicity of sugar. The research links sugar to a range of major health issues, among them obesity, heart disease and cancer. Looking at sugar-sweetened beverages specifically, one recent government-funded study showed that the drinks accounted for 20 to 40 percent of Americans’ weight gain between 1977 and 2007.

For a visual analysis of sugar in various drinks, check out this photographic chart.

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