Bexar County judge 'Making Awesome Changes'

Leaders promote 'Making Awesome Changes' through elimination of sugary drinks

SAN ANTONIO – The initiative began a couple of years ago, but Bexar County is forging ahead in its battle against sugar with Phase Two of a campaign to bring attention to a sour spot in the health and wellness of its citizens. 

With obesity rates beginning to show signs of declining in San Antonio, county leaders say it’s time to tackle not just what people eat, but what they drink.

A new public service announcement featured on sugar-packed.com shows how a 20-ounce sugary soda contains 16 packets of pure sugar. The video graphically shows how ridiculous it would be for a person to consume that much knowingly and willingly. The PSA also shows the alternatives available, including low-fat milk, unsweetened iced tea and the top choice, water.

Research shows that just one or two sugary drinks per day is linked to a 26 percent increase in diabetes and a 35 percent increase in heart disease. Overall, this amount of consumption is also linked to an estimated 25,000 deaths nationwide. Anonymous data collected from the Witte Museum’s H-E-B Body Adventure exhibit backed up estimates that most people have at least one sugary drink a day.

The alternatives are abundant, but water is the most available and least expensive. Dietitians recommend adding fruits like strawberries and citrus to your water. They say if it is not sweet enough for you, your taste buds need time to adjust away from your fountain soda habit. In a few weeks, your taste buds will readjust and the craving will go away, experts said.

County Judge Nelson Wolff is leading the way for the county, promising that this year he resolves to reduce his sugar intake as well.

"Number one, iced tea. I will never have sugar in my iced tea," he said. "Number two, in my coffee, there will never be sugar in my coffee. Number three, I will reduce the number of colas to three a week."

Wolff also said instead of 20-ounce colas, he’ll be drinking the 6-ounce variety.