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Banning sugary drinks from Texas schools

Amarillo, Texas - Texas state lawmakers are looking to help young students develop nutritious habits.

Supporters of House Bill 217 say they're advocating for the potential savings in health care costs by banning soda's and other sugary drink for students. But what we found out after looking more into the bill, the state already has restrictions in place.

"One of the main ingredients that's in soda is phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid actually leeches calcium out of the bones and weakens the bones, rots the teeth," Tim Cunningham, registered and licensed dietitian says.

Cunningham adds that's not including the high sugar content.

House Bill 217 would restrict the types of drinks sold to elementary and junior high school students to only water, low-fat milk and pure juices. But Texas schools already comply with these limitations.

"We don't have the carbonated beverages in any of our vending machines that students have access to. Many years ago those were taken out, and then mainly you're going to see the waters, 100 percent juices and all those comply with the TDA rules. So, we've been in compliance with that for many years," Brent Hoover, Food Service manager for AISD says.

Nutritional guidelines from the Texas Department of Agriculture have already removed all carbonated drinks from student's access. But, the bill goes a step farther and also includes banning sports drinks.

Cunningham says that sugar content isn't just limited to soda. It's also found in those sports drinks most people think are a healthy choice.

"All in all, sports drinks weren't originally developed to be drank on a every day kind of basis like water. They were meant to be drank by somebody who was doing, well, sports," Cunningham says.

We're told sports drinks are sold at some Amarillo schools.

So why have a bill that mirrors guidelines already in place? Author of the bill Senator Uresti says this will help make a difference in the state's health care costs.

If Governor Perry signs the bill it will go into effect September 1, 2013.

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