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Healthy Beverages

tall glass filled with sugar cubes

Rethink Your Drink

Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks has increased substantially across the United States over the past 30 years. The largest single source of excess non-nutritional calories in America comes from sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Scientific evidence consistently supports the association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and an increased risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes and a variety of other health consequences.

Johns Hopkins Medicine actively supports a healthy workforce. In fact, this is one of the goals of the Strategic Plan’s people priority. We believe that it is our responsibility as a health care organization to promote health not only to our staff members, but to our patients and visitors as well. To achieve this, participating members of Johns Hopkins Medicine will implement the Rethink Your Drink Healthy Beverage Initiative to increase the offerings of healthy beverages, with the goal of making it easier for our employees and visitors to make healthier choices.

The Healthy Beverage Initiative

Beginning October 1, 2014

  • Only beverages in the healthier categories will be offered at Johns Hopkins-sponsored meetings and events.
  • More healthy beverage choices will be available. Sugar-sweetened beverages will be available in containers of 12 ounces or less. 
  • Healthier beverages will cost less per ounce than sugar-sweetened beverages.

Beverages will be classified into a color-coded system based on the density of calories per ounce and volume of each beverage container. The traffic light categorization system—red, yellow and green—provides a visual association for differentiating beverages that should be consumed often versus those that should be occasionally or rarely consumed.

Green: Healthier choices

  • Beverages with 0 to 25 calories per 12-ounce serving; skim and 1 percent milk
  • Examples: water; unsweetened tea/coffee; diet beverages with artificial sweeteners

Yellow: Better choices, but don’t overdo it

  • Beverages with 26 to 100 calories per 12-ounce serving that have moderate amounts of sugar, including 100% fruit/vegetable juice and 2 percent milk  
  • Examples: Low-calorie fruit or sports drinks, 100 percent fruit/vegetable juice and 2 percent milk

Red: Drink sparingly, if at all

  • Beverages with more than 100 calories per 12-ounce serving that are high in sugar, calories, sodium and/or fat
  • Examples: fruit drinks, soda, sports drinks, coffee drinks, whole milk 

More Information

Review frequently asked questions to learn more about the Healthy Beverage Initiative.