American Beverage Association

Sip & Savor - Recent Posts

Diet Beverages: A Helpful Tool For Weight Loss That Are Also Safe

When it comes to low- and no-calorie sweeteners, the science speaks for itself. Despite the misinformation you may read on the Internet, experts in the field of nutrition are emphasizing that low-calorie sweeteners have been vigorously studied, can aid in weight loss and have repeatedly been deemed safe by government regulatory agencies here and in Europe.

Just yesterday in the Washington Post, registered dietitian Hope Warshaw recommended diet beverages as a good alternative to water when searching for low- and no-calorie options. And she reiterated their benefits and safety.

“The reality is, a number of low-calorie sweeteners have over the years been reviewed by the FDA and other global regulatory bodies and, after substantial review, are allowed on the market,” Warshaw said.

“Despite what you might read and hear, the overwhelming research shows diet drinks are safe to consume and can offer calorie savings.”

Not only are they safe – low- and no-calorie sweeteners have been shown to be a helpful tool to people both seeking to lose weight or trying to maintain their weight loss.

“They don’t trick your brain to crave more sweets or cause weight gain,” said Christine Rosenbloom, a dietitian and emeritus nutrition professor at Georgia State University. “Research shows that diet beverages can offer an assist in weight control…”

In other words, the sweeteners in diet beverages are safe for us to consume. The people who make up America’s leading beverage companies would not have it any other way. And diet beverages work for people as a tool to help with weight loss and can be part of a balanced diet.

Instead of restricting consumers’ choices, the beverage industry is committed to providing the education and information people need to make the choices that are right for them.

To learn more about the science behind low-calorie sweeteners check out LetsClearItUp.org.


Dietary Guidelines Policy Summit

If you follow news on the Dietary Guidelines you’ve no doubt read article after article about how some of the past recommendations issued by the previous Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee were not based on strong science.  More nutrition experts are coming out to question the public health community’s habit of dividing foods into “good” and “bad” instead of providing recommendations that are practical, achievable and based on solid science.

Last week, national leaders in food and nutrition policy, public health, academia, industry and government met at The Ohio State University Food Innovation Center’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans Summit to discuss the lapses in government diet advice.

“Dietary guidance is the main entrée on our national menu because good food is good health, but there remains a perplexing gap between well-intentioned policy and real consumer behavior,” said Ken Lee, director of The Ohio State Food Innovation Center, in a statement.

David Just, Leslie Lytle and Robert Murray, professors in behavioral economics, health behavior and nutrition and human nutrition, respectively, examined why the Dietary Guidelines have not been successful in  changing consumer behavior. In their session entitled Understanding What Impacts Consumer Behavior, they explained that recommendations that look good on paper are often not realistic. There is no single perfect diet for everyone, they say.

“We have a lot of debates over the science and it confuses the public greatly…There is an internal tension and you can see it in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines again between this desire for the optimal pattern for health and this prohibition to exclude individual nutrients to get there,” Murray said. “The problem with the Dietary Guidelines is that you’re trying to write one document that encompasses all the science and sell it to all the people the same way.”

We at Sip & Savor agree. Instead of vilifying one nutrient, we encourage the Committee to seek ways to help Americans achieve moderation in their diet.  It’s all about balance.  Balancing calories from all foods and beverages with physical activity supports an active and balanced lifestyle.

You can watch a video recording of the Summit online here.


Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! Today we honor the brave men and women who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces, a tradition that began in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery.

“If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of 15,000 men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung,” President Andrew Garfield powerfully stated during his speech on the first Memorial Day.

On Memorial day, we remember the many people that have served in the armed forces and the sacrifices they have made to ensure freedom for all Americans. Because of them we have the power to make our own choices in our daily lives.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend and wherever you are heading be sure to keep the sacrifices of the brave men and women that have served our country in mind.


Working Together To Provide Solutions In Lima

Our industry has a long record of working with thought leaders on meaningful solutions to societal challenges such as obesity.  You might remember that back in January, Lima, Ohio Mayor David Berger won 1st place in the small city category at this year’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards – a program and partnership we formed with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM).

On Wednesday, Mayor Berger accepted the grant for the program, “Cooking for Change,” which brings together high school students from the food management program at Lima Senior High School and the culinary arts program at Apollo Career Center to design a healthy eating initiative that helps to reduce obesity rates in Lima and Allen County.

“We know that the best and most creative solutions to many of our nation’s problems are born at the local level, and that’s why this partnership with the American Beverage Association was created,” U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO Tom Cochran said in a statement.

Mayor Berger emphasized that nutrition education is an important step towards learning good lifelong habits on balance.

“Our approach to improving our children’s health is to engage the entire community, first and foremost, the young people themselves,” Berger told The Lima News.

“In my experience, if you provide them with the tools and support, young people are pretty adept at coming up with creative strategies to solving their own problems,” said Berger.

We agree.  As Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, explained: “Initiatives that engage young people in crafting creative strategies to promote their own health, rather than designing solutions for them, seems to work best.”

Obesity is a complex public health challenge that can’t be boiled down to one nutrient or product. That is why the beverage industry supports widespread efforts to educate people about balanced diets and give them information they need to make decisions that are right for them.

Congrats Mayor Berger and the City of Lima!  Click here to check out a short video about their innovative approach to community nutrition support and education.


Taxes Targeting Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Are Misleading

Taxing one product to fight a complex issue like obesity is not a solution that will produce real and lasting results.  Why? Because obesity is caused by many factors but is mainly a result of an imbalance between “calories in” and “calories out.” Targeting sugar-sweetened beverages as a unique source of calories contributing to obesity just isn’t based on science.

But that’s what some lawmakers in Louisiana are proposing with a bill that would levy a 1-cent tax for every teaspoon of sweetener – including sugar, corn syrup or any other “caloric sweetener” – contained in a beverage sold in a store or restaurant.

Louisianans don’t get why lawmakers think they can tax their way to health.

“No doubt sugary soft drinks or sweet teas or coffees are a factor for many who are obese, but why pick only on beverages when clearly there are plenty of other contributors to obesity, “says Will Chapman of Louisiana’s The Iberian Daily.

Chapman points out that Louisiana needs to look at its entire diet, of which beverages are a small part, including “fried foods, boudin, cracklin, bread pudding, all sorts of dishes with gravy served over big mounds of rice and plenty more things we like to eat or drink that challenge our waistlines.”

If Louisiana lawmakers really want to tackle the issue of obesity they should start by providing people the information and education they need to make their own choices. Lawmakers should not mislead people into believing that if they eliminate one product from their diet they will achieve a healthy weight. We should be teaching people the importance of balancing what you eat and drink with what you do.

That’s what our industry is doing. Through our Balance Calories Initiative, America’s leading beverage companies have set a goal to reduce calories consumed per person by 20 percent nationally by 2025.  They will do so by providing consumers with a variety of choices and the calorie awareness that they need to achieve a balanced lifestyle.

To learn more about how the beverage industry is working towards real solutions to public health issues such as obesity, visit DeliveringChoices.org.


Balance Calories Community Initiative Rolled Out In Los Angeles And Little Rock!

Some of our frequent Sip & Savor readers may remember when ABA, along with America’s beverage companies, announced our Balance Calories initiative last September.  Partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we committed to work toward an aggressive goal of reducing beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025.

As part of this endeavor the beverage companies also established a special community-level program that focuses on neighborhoods where interest in and access to lower and no-calorie beverage options falls below the national average.

We’re proud to say that work has begun on this initiative, and the participating communities are enthusiastically supporting it.

On Friday, ABA, leading beverage companies and the Alliance gathered at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA to announce that the Balance Calories Community Initiative is to begin in four Los Angeles-area communities: East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno.

On Monday, they  gathered again – this time at the Edwards Food Giant in Little Rock, Ark. –  to announce the start of the community initiative in four Little Rock neighborhoods.

Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, explained that the start of the this effort to spur more interest in low- and no-calorie products is the beverage industry taking a leadership role in meaningful solutions to help reduce obesity.

“Our companies are going to work in a very focused, deliberate manner with these communities to create interest in beverage options that can help them cut their calories,” Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said.

“This begins by offering more no- and low-calorie as well as smaller-portion choices, but also finding innovative ways to encourage consumers to try these products.  We are going to test and learn so we can truly transform the beverage landscape through solutions that work.”

Several elected and community leaders offered their support to this initiative and praised the industry for stepping up to do its part to address the challenge of obesity.  Our member companies will be working with the community to better understand the challenges in neighborhoods and to identify the best methods to help people achieve balance while preserving choice.  What works best can be applied elsewhere.

Check out this clip from KTHV News on the announcement in Little Rock.  For additional information on how our industry delivers, visit DeliveringChoices.org.


Louisiana: Promoting Taxes, Not Balance

Attempts to pass soda taxes have failed pretty much everywhere they have been tried. The reason is simple: the public opposes taxes on common grocery items, as many opinion polls show.

Now comes Louisiana, where some lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would place a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to address obesity. New Orleans grocery shopper Katie Herbert didn’t get it.

“I do believe obesity needs a lot of attention, but to attack sugar and sugary drinks, to me I don’t think that’s where it should go,” said Herbert to News 10.

In other words, as they say in the Deep South, that dog won’t hunt. That’s because beverage calories make up only a small portion (about 6 percent according to government data) of the total calories the average American consumes in a day, and sugar-sweetened beverages are not a unique driver of obesity. To address obesity, we have to look at the entire diet – as well as physical activity. Hiking prices on soda is not going to do it.

In Louisiana’s case, lawmakers claim that the funds raised from the tax would go towards obesity prevention programs.

“To fund those programs and place a tax just on sugar, when sugar consumption has gone down in the U.S. since 1970, is an inappropriate way to do it,” says the American Sugar Cane League. “It’s about nutrition and balancing your lifestyle and taking a holistic approach to what we eat and how active we are.”

John Peterson, co-founder of the Lafayette-based artisanal soda company Swamp Pop, agrees.

“Our sodas are meant to be savored. They’re for times spent relaxing on the porch,” Petersen, whose company makes flavors like praline cream and filé root beer, told the Times-Picayune newspaper.

“As a society, we generally understand with food what items should be enjoyed in moderation and what items are staples of our diet.”

We at Sip & Savor agree. Obesity is a complex issue that requires real and lasting solutions. That’s why just last year America’s leading beverage companies partnered with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to reduce beverage calorie in the American diet.  With our Balance Calories Initiative, we have set a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025. We will work aggressively toward this goal by providing more low- and no-calorie options along with smaller portion sizes, while also providing calorie awareness and informing people about the importance of balancing what they eat and drink with what they do.

Click here to learn more about how the beverage industry is delivering for its customers, consumers and communities.  And visit YourCartYourChoice.com for more information on why beverage taxes are a misguided and ineffective policy.


Nutrition Expert Speaks Up On Why Nutrition Advice Is So Confusing

There’s just no getting around the fact that human nutrition is extremely complex.  All too often we get blasted with conflicting nutrition and dietary advice from the public health community, the media and the Internet.

Eggs, once considered unhealthy due to their cholesterol content, are now okay according to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report.

We were told to stay away from fat and now it is fine to consume.  They also put coffee back on the menu for those who are health-conscious.

And now new research is casting doubt on the U.S. government’s salt recommendations.

So where’s the disconnect?  In this Washington Post Wonkblog column, nutrition scientist Dr. David Allison, professor of public health and University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health associate dean,  comments on why nutrition recommendations are so confusing.  He suggest that there are “many reasons. For one, there is a presupposition that eating some things is better than eating other things.” When asked what the motives may be by some scientists to distort what is known when it comes to science, Allison added, “One is innocent.  Some people just didn’t think it through. That’s not an excuse – it’s still sloppy bad science. Others may be well-meaning but they think they generally already know what is good and bad. They want to do as much as possible to convince everyone that what they think is ‘good’ is actually good and what they think is ‘bad’ is bad. A third factor is a kind of moral passion or indignation.” In closing, Allison states that, “There are a few things we are certain about. We know that you can’t live without food, and that if you eat too much, you get fat. There are certain essential nutrients – vitamins and minerals – that you need to have.”

We agree.  We’ve said it before – there are no “good” or “bad” foods.  Maintaining a healthy weight and balanced lifestyle comes down to balancing all of the calories we consume daily with those we burn.

Please visit DeliveringChoices.org to see how our member companies are helping to empower people and communities find balance by providing choice, information, support and motivation.


Stay Balanced, Bike To Work

Today is Bike To Work day, which means it’s not only a perfect time to make sure you are staying hydrated but a great opportunity to help you achieve a balanced lifestyle.

Whether your office is a few miles or a few blocks away, biking is one way you can be physically active and help burn off calories.  If you do go for a ride, make sure that you stay hydrated.  Our member companies have plenty of options – from bottled water to sports drinks – that will help get you through your day.

But remember to balance what you eat and drink with what you do.  Now get out there and start pushing those pedals!

If you want to learn more about how beverage companies are helping consumers achieve a balanced lifestyle, visit DeliveringChoices.org.


Are You Counting?

Are you getting your steps in today?  We at Sip & Savor often talk about the importance of balancing the calories you consume from all foods and beverages with the calories you burn through physical activity and exercise.

“Exercise is a vital component of achieving lifelong cardiovascular health,” Dr. Gregg Fonarow, professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told HealthDay.

“Regular physical activity and maintaining physical fitness has been shown to be associated with a lower risk of [heart attack], stroke, and premature cardiovascular death,” he said.

According to the American Heart Association, for health purposes, people should accumulate 10,000 steps or more a day, the equivalent of about five miles of walking.

We understand that trying to fit in even 30 minutes of physical activity on a good day can be tough.  That is why our member companies are helping to empower consumers to make choices that are right for them.

Through our Balance Calories Initiative, America’s beverage companies will leverage their marketing, innovation and distribution strengths to work toward a common goal of reducing beverage calories in the American diet.  At its core, this initiative is about providing consumers a range of beverage options, calorie information to help them make the choices that are right for them, and encouragement to help them balance all of their calories – including those from beverages – with daily physical activity.

For more information on how to empower consumers to make the choices that are right for them, visit DeliveringChoices.org.