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Setting the example: reducing sugary drinks to embrace Menus of Change principles

20 August 2019

As Cornell University prepares to welcome thousands of new and returning students to campus, Cornell Dining is welcoming a range of new, non-sweetened beverages to our dining rooms, and removing sweetened sodas.

Cornell Dining is committed to the Menus of Change initiative, the practical vision for the integration of optimal nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration, and social responsibility concerns within the foodservice sector and beyond.

One aspect of nutrition and public health is the increasing awareness that sweetened sodas offer no nutritive benefits, and multiple potential negative health impacts, including increased risk of diabetes and weight gain. Sweetened soft drinks are the biggest source of added sugar and calories in the American diet: a 12-ounce serving of soda contains the equivalent of about 7 to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Accordingly, the Menus of Change initiative urges us to substantially reduce sugary beverages, and innovate replacements for them.

In the interest of our students' health, we are removing the sweetened Pepsi products from the soda fountains in our dining rooms, and replacing them with the Bubly line of flavored sparkling water. These naturally flavored drinks have no sweeteners, natural or otherwise, and offer a refreshing, soda-like experience with zero calories.

As before, our dining rooms will also have a variety of other beverages, such as Cornell Dairy milks, orange and other juices, fruit- and herb-infused "spa waters," and flavored iced teas and lemonades.

Pepsi and other sodas will remain available in the soda fountains and single-serving cans and bottles at our retail eateries and convenience stores for everyone who would like to enjoy them! They'll be joined by Bubly fountains and single-serving cans and bottles.

By committing to the Menus of Change initiative, we lead by example for our students, empower our staff, support local agriculture, and generate less waste. Cornell Dining is proud to be a part of a movement that celebrates nutrition, sustainability, and healthy living.

About Cornell Dining

Cornell Dining is consistently ranked in the Princeton Review's top ten for best campus food among all colleges and universities in the country. That high rating comes from customer surveys, and reflects Cornell Dining's commitment to serving high-quality foods that are healthy and creatively prepared with genuine care for a diverse community. Cornell Dining operates 29 on-campus eateries -- which include all-you-care-to-eat dining rooms, cafés, coffee houses, food courts, and convenience stores -- and serves more than 23,000 meals a day to members of the Cornell community. For more information, visit

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