Dutch soft drink producers to stop selling sugary drinks at schools

By the end of next year, Dutch soft drink producers will stop selling sugar-filled soft drinks at high schools in the Netherlands, Raymond Gianotten, director of the Dutch Association for Soft Drinks Waters and Juices, said to RTL Nieuws. By the end of 2018, only light variants of soft drinks will be available at high schools.

"We want to help young people make a healthier choice", Gianotten said. "There are still some ongoing contracts, but as far as we are concerned, this will be done as soon as possible."

The producers will keep selling the light variants of their drinks. When asked whether these light variants are really better than the sugar filled versions, Gianotten said: "There's nothing wrong with them. They contain no sugar, and hardly any calories. You can drink them without getting in too much calories."

According to nutrition professor Martijn Katan, there is definitive evidence that sugar filled soft drinks and juices make you fat. He was part of a study in which a group of 320 children were given one can of lemonade with sugar, and another group of 320 children were given one can of sugar-free lemonade every day. "After one and a half years, the group who drank sugar-free lemonade picked up a kilo less than the other group."

Dutch primary school children drink between 500 ml and 750 ml of soda or juice every day, Katan said to the broadcaster. "If you halve that intake, it would result in 2 kilograms less body weight", he said. "There's nothing valuable in soda or juice that the children cannot do without."