“…there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.” – H. L. Mencken
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a number of studies and opinion papers on obesity – a serious and complex public health issue facing our nation. However, the Journal contributors chose to focus exclusively on a small and declining part of the American diet as the only culprit of obesity: sugar-sweetened beverages.
We all know, and science supports, that obesity is not uniquely caused by any single food or beverage, and focusing solely on sugar-sweetened beverages, or any other single source of calories, does nothing meaningful to help address this serious issue. By every measure, sugar-sweetened beverages play a small and declining role in the American diet. So, we ask, how can 100 percent of the blame be placed on 7 percent of the calories in the average American's diet?
Actions speak louder than words, which is why the beverage industry is taking positive steps to deliver more choices to our consumers, providing smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels. Through these voluntary efforts, our industry is not only making it easier for consumers to choose the beverage that is right for them, but also taking common-sense steps that are having a meaningful and lasting impact.