Wanna Play Kick-the-Can?

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Anyone have childhood memories of twilight games of Kick-the-Can with the kids from the neighborhood? The ones when you, the brave one, charge in to kick the can and set everyone free? Now, a posse of Bay Area health organizations are riding into town with a new promotion to help us kick the soda-pop habit.

Soda Free Summer is the inspiration of Alameda's Department of Public Health, and it has been picked up by 80 other health related organizations. The campaign is challenging people to stop drinking sugary drinks, and instead reach for healthy alternatives. The Public Health collaboration is spreading the word to kids through summer camps as well as to adults through food and health distribution services. On the Soda Free Summer website there are tool kits and prize incentives to aid families and workgroups in making the change.

Diane Woloshin, Director of Nutritional Service for Alameda County, said they created the Soda Free Summer campaign because when they looked for the simplest thing a person could do to lose weight - it was cut out sugar. Soda is the source of 30% of the sugar in the American diet! Read on for a sampling of some popular beverages and their respective sugar content:

20 oz soda is 240 calories - 17 tsp sugar
16 oz sweetened tea drink is 220 calories - 13 tsp sugar
11 oz juice pouch is 152 calories - 9.5 tsp sugar

A child needs to walk for two hours and an adult needs to walk for 45 minutes in order to burn the calories in just one can of soda. Electrolyte enhanced sports drinks are high in sugar and considered beneficial only for those who do an extreme workout. Water is still one of the best hydrators available (and its free). Add a little flavor to your water with a slice of orange from your FruitGuys crate. What's more, there are many flavors of teas, herbal or caffeinated, that make flavorful calorie free drinks.

Kicking the soda-pop habit is a great challenge for a family or a work group. The website has downloadable score cards for keeping track. East Coast health organization have promoted similar initiatives like Stop the Pop, but the challenge needn't be regional as obesity is a national health crisis. It is easy to put down the soda-pop and shout "olly olly oxen free!" Sugar free, naturally.


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