American Beverage Association

February 4, 2016

Negative Dietary Advice is Leading Americans Down the Wrong Path

A team of researchers out of Arizona State University recently found the idea that “people do the opposite of what they are told” applies to the current state of nutritional advice in the United States.

The study, conducted by Nguyen Pham, Dr. Naomi Mandel and Dr. Andrea Morales examined eating habits of individuals after receiving positive or negative messages about food placed in front of them. Their results suggest that people ignore negative “food police”-style messages.

Pham believes that people disregard nutritional advice telling them to eliminate something from their diet because, “people value their freedom of choice, and they resent government intervention that restricts that freedom.”

Unlike countries such as Canada, Japan and Germany that encourage people to enjoy all foods in moderation, dietary advice in the United States is focused on providing a strict blueprint that is difficult and stressful for most people to follow.

If we want to see obesity rates decline, it is time for the government and policymakers to change their tone when it comes to food and nutrition.

The recently released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are a positive development when it comes to nutrition advice.

For example, the guidelines advise Americans to, “account for all foods and beverages consumed and assess how they fit within a total healthy eating pattern.”

The beverage industry is doing our part to help people achieve balance by offering a large variety of options that can fit the individual tastes and needs of everyone. And through our Balance Calories Initiative aimed at helping Americans reduce their beverage calories, we are encouraging consumers to consider their calories from beverages as part of their total diet.

Visit to learn more about the options available and how the industry is helping consumers find their balance.


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