Building Healthy Eating Environments at Intermountain


Beginning March 1st, Intermountain Healthcare facilities will be replacing sugary beverages and candy with healthier choices. The move furthers Intermountain’s mission of helping people live the healthiest lives possible.

Ending the sales of sugar-added beverages, candy, and less-healthy snacks will take place at Intermountain’s cafeterias, gift shops, vending machines and pharmacies. Intermountain will increase the availability of healthier options at those venues based on evidence in nutrition research and dietary guidelines. With this change, Intermountain joins more than 30 health systems nationwide such as Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente that have adopted similar policies.

Intermountain respects individual choices for food and nutrition preferences. While the organization won’t be selling sugary beverages, candy, or less-healthy snacks at its facilities, people can choose to bring their own.

For nearly a decade, Intermountain’s LiVe Well message has been about eating healthier and being active.  Following evidence-based research, Intermountain’s Food and Nutrition Services teams will continue to systematically evaluate menu and snack options, increasing the healthy options available and offering fewer foods that contain added sugar, salt, and saturated fats. Intermountain began offering “Healthy Plates” at its cafeterias in 2014. In 2016 nearly 150,000 Healthy Plates were sold. 

Healthy eating environments with good nutrition play a vital role in health. Excessive sugar consumption can contribute to obesity and a host of adverse health conditions. Consider that an alarming number of people are living with prediabetes, whose blood glucose is elevated, with approximately 114,000 people in Utah and Southern Idaho affected. Around 90 percent don’t know even they have prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and increased heart attack and stroke risks.

A lot of people do not realize that added sugar is used in numerous foods. Such as breakfast cereals, salad dressings, ketchup, pasta sauces, and crackers.

“We are trying to make people aware of where these added sugars are and how to best avoid them. The two biggest ways to reduce added sugars is with sodas and candy,” said Robin Aufdenkampe, MS, RDN, CD, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Intermountain.

RELATED: A Non-Candy Coated Look at Added Sugar

The American Heart Association says that men should have no more than 36 grams of sugar a day, women should have no more than 24 grams. A can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams. Then take into effect that in a single tablespoon of barbecue sauce holds six grams of sugar. So throughout the day, not only has this person reached their limit, they likely well-exceeded the limits when adding in the other foods.

You can learn more by checking out Intermountain’s Healthy Eating Environments website