Sugary Drink FACTS

Evaluating Sugary Drink Nutrition and Marketing to Youths

Young people are being exposed to a substantial amount of marketing for sugary drinks, such as full-calorie soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks, according to a new study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The study is the most comprehensive and science-based assessment of sugary drink nutrition and marketing ever conducted.

Research data show that companies marketing sugary drinks target young people, especially Black and Hispanic youths. The report’s authors studied marketing by 14 beverage companies and examined the nutritional quality of nearly 600 products, including full-calorie soda, energy drinks, fruit drinks, flavored water, sports drinks, and iced teas, as well as diet energy drinks and children’s diet fruit drinks.

Key Findings:

  • Many fruit drinks and energy drinks have as much added sugar and calories as full-calorie soda.
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, highly caffeinated energy drinks "have no place in the diet of children and adolescents."
  • From 2008 to 2010, children's and teens' exposure to full-calorie soda TV ads doubled.
  • Companies are targeting Black and Hispanic children and teens. Black children and teens saw 80 to 90 percent more ads compared with White youths. From 2008 to 2010, Hispanic children saw 49 percent more ads for sugary drinks and energy drinks on Spanish-language TV; Hispanic teens saw 99 percent more ads.

Researchers from the Rudd Center presented detailed findings of the study during the 2011 American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.