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Coming Soon: Sodas With Vitamins



Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Will adding vitamins and minerals help beef up sagging soda sales?

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to agree or disagree with each of the statements below. This will set a purpose for reading; as they read, they will confirm their assumptions or learn something new.

  • [You might hold up a gallon container as you make this statement] The average American drinks more than 50 gallons of soda a year.
  • Sodas sold in stores and machines contain vitamins and minerals for a healthful diet.
  • Soda sales are way up. More people than ever before are buying soda.
  • Soft drinks are the biggest source of calories in the American diet.

    News Words

    Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: compete, consumers, vitamin, mineral, regular, and calories. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • In order to develop strong bones and teeth, your diet must include _____ D. (vitamin)
  • Do you want a _____ soda with that meal, or do you want the extra-large size? (regular)
  • Some food products are fortified with extra _____ such as magnesium, chromium, and calcium. (minerals)
  • The little hardware store had to shut down because it could no longer _____ with the big Home Depot. (compete)
  • A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 140 _____. (calories)
  • _____ can often save money by buying foods in large quantities. (Consumers)

    Read the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

  • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

  • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

  • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

  • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.
  • Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Coming Soon: Sodas With Vitamins.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • "We want to reinvent carbonated soft drinks," said John Compton, president of PepsiCo, when he introduced the companys new enriched soft drink, Tava. Tava will be launched nationwide in the fall of 2007. It is PepsiCos response to consumer demand for more healthful drinks. PepsiCo plans to introduce another drink that will compete with energy drinks like Red Bull. Diet Pepsi Max will contain extra caffeine and ginseng.
  • Diet Coke Plus should start appearing on store shelves this spring.
  • Some people think there is a market for the new drinks. Health conscious people might prefer them to current offerings. Others say the new drinks are a "joke" because soft drinks are not healthy, period.
  • Since soda sales are down, the companies will market their new drinks as "sparkling beverages."
  • In the United States, the soda business is a $68 billion industry.
  • These new products are not the first products of their type. In 2004, Cadbury Schweppes introduced 7Up Plus, a low-calorie soda fortified with vitamins and minerals, but sales have not been strong.
  • A 2006 survey revealed that 10 percent of consumers thought diet sodas were a healthy choice; that is down from 14 percent in 2003. In addition, 30 percent of consumers said they were reluctant to drink sodas with artificial sweeteners; that number was up from 21 percent in 2004. In spite of those surveys, diet soda sales made up about 30 percent of all carbonated soft drink sales in 2005. That was up from about 25 percent in 2000.
  • Soda makers are not the first to add vitamins and minerals to drinks. Orange juice and other fruit juices have promoted added ingredients for some time.
  • Soft drinks account for 81 percent of Coca-Colas sales. At PepsiCo, soft drinks only account for 31 percent of sales because the company includes other product lines, including Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade products.
  • Another area of health concern with soda products is their caffeine content. While PepsiCo product labels list their caffeine content, Coca-Cola soda products do not.
  • According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), carbonated soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet; they provide 7 percent of calories. Add in noncarbonated drinks, and the figure grows to 9 percent. Consumption varies by age group. Teens, for example, get 13 percent of their calories from soft drinks.
  • CSPI says that soft drinks provide large amounts of sugars (mostly high-fructose corn syrup) to our diets. Soda pop provides the average 12- to 19-year-old boy with about 15 teaspoons of refined sugars a day and the average girl with about 10 teaspoons a day.
  • In the 1970s, boys consumed more than twice as much milk as soft drinks; by the mid 90s, boys consumed twice as much soda pop as milk. Heavy soft drink consumption can mean lower vitamin and mineral consumption.
  • The empty calories of soft drinks are likely contributing to health problems, particularly obesity, according to CSPI. That weight gain, in turn, is a prime risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which is becoming a problem for teens. As people get older, excess weight also contributes to heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.

    To learn more about the health affects of soft-drink consumption, see CSPIs report, Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks Are Harming Americas Health.

    Comprehension Check

    Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to the statements in it.

  • The average American drinks more than 50 gallons of soda a year. (true)
  • Sodas sold in stores and machines contain vitamins and minerals for a healthful diet. (most sodas do not, but some new ones are coming)
  • Soda sales are way up. More people are buying more soda than ever. (soda sales are actually going down as consumers search for more healthful drinks, which is why soda companies are introducing drinks with added vitamins and minerals)
  • Soft drinks are the biggest source of calories in the American diet. (true, according to a CSPI report)

    You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

    Recalling Detail

  • Why have many schools banned soda? (because it contains lots of sugar and other things that are not so healthy)
  • What will the new Coke and Pepsi drinks have that their other drinks dont have? (They will have vitamins and minerals added.)
  • Why are soda sales declining? (More new drinks, and more healthful drinks, are competing for peoples money.)
  • How many cans of soda does the average American drink each year> (557 cans)
  • Why have some people switched from drinking diet sodas to drinking water? (they are concerned about the affects of the sweeteners in diet sodas)
  • What are some examples of minerals that are part of a healthful diet? (Examples shared in the article include magnesium, zinc, and chromium. Others include copper and calcium.)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the following questions:

  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has called all non-diet sodas "liquid candy." Do you think that is an appropriate name? Why or why not?
  • What are some healthy alternatives to sugary sodas?
  • Do you think the soda industrys experiment will work? Do you think the new vitamin-enriched soft drinks will sell?

    Follow-Up Activities

    Graph reading. Print out or project the graph that shows annual soft drink production. The graph shows the number of cans of soft drink produced per person. Ask questions about the graph such as the ones that follow.

  • How many cans of soft drink were produced per person in 1947? (about 100 cans)
  • In which year on the graph is the production of diet soda first shown? (1967)
  • In what year on the graph did soft drink production first top 400 cans per person? (1987)
  • Did soda production rise, fall, or remain about the same between 1997 and 1998? (it rose)
  • Did soda production rise, fall, or remain about the same between 1998 and 2000? (it remained about the same)
  • Did soda production rise, fall, or remain about the same between 2000 and 2004? (it fell)

    Language. In the United States, people in different states or regions might call soft drinks by different names. Some people refer to them as soft drinks or cold drinks. Others use terms such as soda, pop, coke, or tonic to refer to all soft drinks. But soft drinks are not strictly an American phenomenon. They are common throughout the world. But what is the word for soft drink in other places around the world? Present this simple matching activity to students. Have them match each term to the country in which it might be used. They can use Wikkipedias Soft Drink article as their research source. (Answers: 1.b, 2.h, 3.e, 4.c, 5.f, 6.g, 7.a, 8.j, 9.i, 10.d.)

    Term Country
    1. bebida a. Australia
    2. brus b. Chile
    3. cola c. Colombia
    4. gaseosa d. Denmark
    5. kazouza e. Ecuador
    6. leslassa f. Egypt
    7. lolly water g. Ethiopia
    8. refrescos h. Norway
    9. refrigerante i. Portugal
    10. sodavand j. Spain

    Nutrition. Collect in advance, or have students bring in, the nutrition labels from a variety of soft drinks. Compare drinks in terms of categories such as calories per serving, vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients. Which of the drinks seem to be the most healthful?


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on their news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    National Standards

    GRADES K - 4
    NPH-H.K-4.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
    NPH-H.K-4.2 Health Information, Products and Services
    NPH-H.K-4.3 Reducing Health Risks
    NPH-H.K-4.4 Health Influences
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NPH-H.5-8.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
    NPH-H.5-8.2 Health Information, Products and Services
    NPH-H.5-8.3 Reducing Health Risks
    NPH-H.5-8.4 Health Influences
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NPH-H.9-12.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
    NPH-H.9-12.2 Health Information, Products and Services
    NPH-H.9-12.3 Reducing Health Risks
    NPH-H.9-12.4 Health Influences

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Economics
    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-EC.K-4.8 Supply and Demand
    NSS-EC.K-4.9 Competition in the Marketplace
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-EC.5-8.8 Supply and Demand
    NSS-EC.5-8.9 Competition in the marketplace
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-EC.9-12.8 Supply and Demand
    NSS-EC.9-12.9 Competition in the Marketplace

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
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