Duluth Hospital Gives Sugar Drinks the Axe

By KBJR News 1

October 18, 2012 Updated Oct 18, 2012 at 9:03 AM CDT

If you're looking to quench your thirst during your next visit to the hospital, we hope you're craving something diet.

St. Luke's is trying something new in hopes of fighting the obesity epidemic, and improving the community's health.

The St. Luke's Hospital cafeteria and patient menus will no longer feature sugar sweetened drinks, starting sometime in November.

"It became obvious that the sugar products are not helping our patients, their not helping our population," says St. Luke's President and CEO John Strange.

St. Luke's is the first hospital in the state of Minnesota to ban sugar drinks.

Strange says selling soda does not coincide with the healthy lifestyle they promote.

"It just seems contrary to our mission."

In one 20 ounce bottle of Coke alone, there are around 20 teaspoons of sugar. That is something that concerns clinical dietitian Stacy Colich.

"Sugar really has no nutritional value other than calories," she says.

By offering only sugar free and Diet drinks, the hospital hopes it will make everyone who enters the hospital think twice about their consumption.

"If it's there, we're going to have them. If it's not there we're likely to make healthier choices," says Colich.

But ultimately, the choice is still up to you as you can still buy your soda elsewhere and bring it with you.

Strange says exceptions will be made when a patient is on an all-liquid diet or if they make a special request, as long as it is approved by a hospital nutritionist.

Essentia Health says they have been considering taking similar measures, but no decisions have been made yet.

Courtney Godfrey
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