American Beverage Association

Sip & Savor - Recent Posts

A Worry-Free Way to Cut Calories During the Holidays

Holiday parties are now in full swing and the constant challenge for most Americans during this festive season is figuring out how to keep off the pounds while still enjoying their favorite holiday treats. According to a column in the South Strand News, low- and no-calorie sweeteners are an easy and safe way to cut calories during the holidays and all year long.

Some people may be reluctant to take advantage of low- and no-calorie sweeteners because of misinformation about their safety, but columnist and physical therapist Nick McClary says a hard look at the evidence shows they are a safe and effective weight maintenance tool.

In his column, McClary says that one of the most pervasive myths about low- and no-calorie sweeteners – that they cause cancer – is due to a “misinterpretation of scientific evidence.”

McClary cites examples in which the results of studies were either misconstrued or disproven, like a study claiming saccharin was linked to cancer in rats. “There was one problem, though,” writes McClary. “This was never proven in humans. In addition, some rats are just more susceptible to bladder cancer. If they get infected with a parasite, they are more likely to develop bladder cancer. If they eat too much vitamin C, they get bladder cancer.”

And if there were any remaining questions as to the safety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners, they have been answered by regulatory agencies around that globe – including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – that have affirmed the safety of these ingredients. In fact, in 2013 the European Food Safety Authority reaffirmed the safety of aspartame after conducting one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame to-date.

So when you start to stress about maintaining balance this this holiday season remember that low- and no-calorie sweeteners are a worry-free way to trim some of those extra calories.

More information about low- and no-calorie beverages can be found at Let’s Clear It Up.


Working at Meaningful Solutions

America’s beverage companies are working together and doing their part to tackle complex public health issues like obesity. The National Association of Counties (NAco) is highlighting their efforts to drive change across America through collaboration with public health groups, government leaders and community partners in this month’s “Solutions Spotlight.”

The feature piece on NACo’s website describes how our member companies are working to reduce calories and sugar in the American diet and to help to change consumer behavior through our voluntary Balance Calories Initiative. To meet this commitment, beverage companies are leveraging their combined marketing expertise, product innovation, distribution strength and education to make real and lasting change in communities across America.

“The goal of this landmark initiative is to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025 — the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help combat obesity. To meet this ambitious goal, the companies are rolling up their sleeves and taking broad and measurable actions to drive consumer behavior change nationwide,” the article stated.

As part of the Balance Calories Initiative, our member companies are going to places where the need is the highest and working to make a difference in those communities. We are providing people with a variety of beverage options, information and encouragement to help them reduce calories and sugar they get from their beverages.

To learn more about how America’s beverage companies are making change happen, visit www.balanceus.org.


Setting the Record Straight on Beverage Taxes

Despite zero evidence that taxing common grocery items improves public health, some continue to advance the false notion that a regressive and unfair levy is the answer to our nation’s obesity crisis. In a letter to the editor published in The Baltimore Sun, Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association executive vice president Ellen Valentino explains why taxes are not a solution to the real societal challenge of obesity.

Valentino points to West Virginia and Arkansas, states with longstanding soda taxes, as proof that taxes have no impact on obesity rates. In fact, “they all rank among the highest when it comes to obesity rates,” says Valentino.

The outcome is no different in other countries that have tried taxes. “Denmark and Finland abandoned their taxes on foods and beverages with sugar, salt and fat when they found they do not work to improve health,” wrote Valentino. And in Mexico, a tax has resulted in a reduction of only 4.9 calories per day out of a diet of more than 3,000 calories, Valentino added.

Valentino notes that “calories we get from sugar in beverages has been dropping steadily, down 39 percent since 2000, while at the same time obesity rates have been climbing, 30.5 percent in 2000 to 37.7 percent in 2013-14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” She also points out that beverages account for only 6 percent of the calories in the American diet.

Clearly we aren’t going to address obesity by focusing on such a small portion of the calories Americans consume. Valentino says what does work is, “Government and industry and public health working together to inform people of the calories in beverages and all foods for that matter and giving them options when it comes to beverages — low and no calorie options and smaller portions — to make the right choices for their family.”

This is exactly what America’s beverage companies have been hard at work doing. We are offering more options with less sugar than ever before. We are engaging with prominent public health and community organizations to do the hard work of changing behavior. And we are giving people the encouragement and information to help them cut back on calories and sugar they get from beverages.

To learn more about how we are helping people achieve balance visit www.balanceus.org.


Beverage Taxes – A Money Grab

Pro-tax advocates and lawmakers often sell beverage taxes to the public by claiming the revenue will go toward solving public health challenges like obesity. Then we see the money being spent on all sorts of budgetary priorities.

There are signs that this kind of bait-and-switch is brewing in San Francisco less than three weeks after a tax was passed there. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle reports that politicians in the city are considering redirecting new revenue generated by the just-passed grocery tax from the originally planned health programs to other programs.

The wording of the tax allows the revenue to go anywhere, and it was written that way to avoid the supermajority of voters needed to mandate the way a tax is spent.

“For the revenue to be guaranteed for health purposes, the proponents would have had to structure the measure differently and gotten the support of two-thirds of voters,” the article notes.

This has revealed the tax to be nothing more than a convenient money grab for politicians who want more taxpayer funds for more spending on things like homeless services, government jobs and a $5 billion pension liability.

If we want to get serious about tackling public health issues, it starts with education – not burdensome taxes, laws and regulations that hurt consumers and small businesspeople. Slapping a tax on one item that makes up just 6 percent of the calories in the average American diet will not make people healthier, just poorer.

Find out more about the real and lasting change at balanceus.org.


Cook County Commissioner Comes Out Against Beverage Tax

Just last month, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to slap a tax on common grocery store items like soda, juice drinks, sports drinks, tea – even flavored water. This tax was proposed as a solution to the county’s budget deficit, but some commissioners say the county is making a mistake not considering the harm that the tax will cause low-income families, small businesses, jobs and incomes.

One Cook County Commissioner has spelled out the problems in a recent letter to the editor. Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison wrote, “This beverage tax goes too far by hitting our residents too hard in their pocketbooks, especially Chicago residents, and hurts our local businesses.”

“I firmly opposed this heavy-handed tax for multiple reasons. First, the tax purposely singles out a specific private sector industry and is too expansive and creates a revenue stream that goes far beyond the means it is intended to serve,” he continued.

Morrison points out that there are other ways to address a budget deficit beside raising prices on consumers, including the cutting of “redundant and unnecessary spending and political clout jobs.”

“Once again, Cook County government is committing itself to another horrible tax policy which will add more long term damage to our local economy,” says Morrison, whose office has received hundreds of calls from residents who oppose the tax.

To read Commissioner Morrison’s letter to the editor in full, click here. To find out more about how beverage taxes harm families and local businesses, visit The Truth About Beverage Taxes.


Hello Black Friday

Are you ready to burn off your Thanksgiving dinner calories while hunting for Black Friday deals? Did you know that the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was on Sept. 24, 1869, when the U.S. gold market crashed and two Wall Street financiers worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold and sell it for profit?  Now, the term is linked to retailers who would supposedly earn a profit and “go into the black” on the day after Thanksgiving because of the holiday shoppers.

If you decide to be a part of the Black Friday shoppers, here is an article from the Washington Post to help you with your shopping.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Ever wonder why turkey is the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner? It turns out historians don’t know for sure, but there are a few theories of why this is.

The first and most popular theory is that when studying the first Thanksgiving, a letter from a pilgrim was found that referenced a turkey hunt. Though the letter did not specify that the turkey was in fact eaten on the day of the feast, many believe this is the most telling piece of evidence.

Another theory is that the wild turkey should be the national bird of the United States over the bald eagle because it is native to North America. Even early Americans, like Benjamin Franklin, argued for the wild turkey to be our national bird. Though they lost their argument, we continue to serve the turkey as the main attraction to one of our most historically American holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Balanced Holiday Travel

During the holiday season, Americans all over the country will be traveling near and far to see family and friends. We understand that traveling can often be a headache and maintaining balance is the last thing that you want to worry about. This is why we’re doing more to make it easier to balance while on the move.

We take the guessing game out of choosing the beverage that’s right for you by clearly displaying calorie counts on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce and on vending machines. We also offer a wide array of low- and no-calorie options and portion sizes so that your beverage choice can fit into your balance equation for the day.

We’re doing what we can to make sure your holidays are worry-free. We wish you safe travels during this holiday season!


Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away and many people are already prepping for the big meal. Whether you are hosting a small gathering or a large feast, we’ve got some mouthwatering recipes featuring your favorite beverages that are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Did you know that cola can add a special twist to the Thanksgiving Day bird? Check out this recipe for Cola Roast Turkey.

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without sweet potatoes – whether it’s a soufflé, casserole or mash. Add a little flair to this traditional Thanksgiving staple with this recipe for Root Beer Braised Sweet Potato Mash.

The grand finale to every Thanksgiving dinner is an incredible dessert, and this Chocolate Cola Cake will not disappoint.

Happy cooking!


Taxing Beverages Raises Revenue but Doesn’t Impact Health

Taxes on beverages are often sold on false claims that they will reduce obesity and make people healthier, but the fact is there is zero evidence to back up these assertions. What these taxes really do is raise revenue off the backs of those who can least afford it – working families and small businesses – while making no real impact on public health.

In a recent Cook County Record article, Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation shared that his organization “estimated such taxes largely place an economic burden on families with lower incomes.” Additionally, Drenkard points out that residents will find ways to still enjoy their favorite products without having to pay additional taxes – “when counties propose these types of taxes, it just pushes people to other types of beverages or to buy their choice of beverage outside their county.”

Even if people choose to no longer buy the taxed product, studies have found they will just substitute those calories with calories from other sources. A special report from the Tax Foundation found that “[s]oda and candy taxes do not necessarily decrease caloric intake. One recent study finds that when adolescents switch away from soda due to price increases, the drop in calories is offset by an increase in calories consumed in other food and drink.”

Once the fig leaf of “health” is pulled away, all that is left is a poorly-disguised money grab.

Instead of advocating for a measure that won’t improve public health and will raise prices on families, we should work to provide consumers with information on how to best maintain a balanced diet and give them the choices in foods and beverages to do so.

America’s leading beverage companies are driving a reduction in the sugar and calories consumed from beverages across America – engaging with prominent public health and community organizations in this effort. This includes doing the hard work of changing behavior in communities with some of the highest obesity rates in the country, such as the Mississippi Delta and rural Alabama. We’re providing the new beverage options, information and encouragement to help people cut back on calories and sugar.

America’s beverage companies are engaged in public health issues because we, too, want a strong healthy, America. To learn more about how America’s beverage companies are rolling up their sleeves and working hard to change behaviors that lead to obesity visit balanceus.org.