This is a poster created by the Texas Liver Foundation and Doctors for Change. It shows how much sugar is in common drinks. We have placed these posters in pediatric offices across the Houston area.
The goal of the poster is to help parents and children make thoughtful drink choices. This is a first step in fighting one of the most serious chronic diseases of our time, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Even though you may not have heard of NAFLD, you most likely know many people who have it. For example, NAFLD affects 1 in 10 children and 1 in 3 adults. NAFLD can cause ongoing liver injury and is the #1 reason why adults need a liver transplant.
We call NAFLD a “silent epidemic” because so many people have NAFLD but often do not know they have it. The good news is that we can manage or stop the NAFLD with a healthy diet. For example, we can choose our drinks carefully to avoid too much sugar, which will help our liver. All the drinks included on the poster help replenish fluids that your body loses with sweating and digestion. However, some drinks may be better for your liver than others. For example, water is always a great option, providing excellent hydration without adding in any extra sugars.
Why the chocolate chips? The chocolate chips under each drink contain the same amount of sugar in that drink. We included chocolate chips to help parents make choices. One parent told us that she has trouble counting “grams of sugar,” but that she is used to counting the number of candies or chocolate chips her children eat. To put it in perspective, there are about 48 chocolate chips in an ounce (thetastytip.com). That means a bottle of lemonade has more sugar than 5 ounces of chocolate chips. That’s almost a whole bag!
If you want to know more about NAFLD and healthy eating, here are some resources:
The CDC’s “Rethink Your Drink” for advice on alternatives to sugary drinks: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html.
NASH Knowledge provides resources about NAFLD and a related condition called NASH, including information for families and children. They offer tips on how to take care of your liver too: https://www.nash-now.org/nutrition/.