Win the Sugar Battle

School of Dentistry

It is summer 2018, my family and I are at Disneyland, LA. We are at the gate at 7:00 am, the sun shines beautifully and gives us the good news that “it is going to be a hot day; enjoy the lines and rides!” I am thinking about how we are going to survive the day – since we plan to stay until late at night to watch the “Fantasmic show.” Each of us carries a backpack with two bottles of water, but those are limited; and considering that we will spend the whole day waiting in lines and running to catch different rides, we did not want to carry more than that.

Around 11:00 am, we finish all the water that we have brought, and we must buy something to drink from the Disneyland vendors that pass by with their attractive signs. Guess what? A bottle of sugar-sweetened beverage like soda and juice is much cheaper than a bottle of water! Isn’t that interesting how soda companies make profit like this? What should we do in this situation?

Buy a more expensive bottle of water, or a bottle of sugary drink that is cheap and gives you enough sugar to endure a long day at Disneyland?

As a dentist and dental public health professional, I faced a dilemma in this situation. I tried to find healthy drinks with no added sugar, but there was just coffee, and water with a high price. What should I do? This led me to think how manufacturers of sugar-sweetened beverages play with our minds, deflect our healthy choices and our priorities based on just one simple marketing trick: the price. This is just one of their attempts; but they challenge us in more ways.

Healthy choices are limited in some places like Disneyland, concerts, and other popular attractions and/or events. That is how sugar industries design their strategic plans and marketing solutions. To sell more sugary products, they keep the costs lower compared to healthy drinks; a very tempting trick for many of us in the community. We are then trapped in a battle between making our healthy choices and spending less money.

Now, how can we win this battle? Well, there are many ways, but the first step is to increase our knowledge.

Good news! If you would like to learn more, you can participate in “Short & Sweet Mini-Symposium” on Nov. 26, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in N217. RSVP at