News Releases & Statements
American Beverage Association Responds To UNC Study On Soft Drink And Milk Consumption
Contact: Kathleen Dezio
WASHINGTON, D.C.—A new study funded in part by the dairy industry and conducted by University of North Carolina (UNC) researchers to be published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine alleges that beverage consumption trends have led to increased calories and decreased calcium in the American diet.
DIET DRINKS GROWING RAPIDLY
However, in its August 13 edition, Beverage Digest estimated that “…from 1998 to 2003, overall calories per serving in what the beverage industry sells have declined by about 12 percent.”
According to Beverage Digest, an industry trade publication, U.S. sales of diet soft drinks, water and sports drinks have grown dramatically, with diet drinks up 6.3 percent last year, water up 21.5 percent and sports drinks up 17.9 percent.
BEVERAGE INDUSTRY OFFERS CONSUMERS MANY FORTIFIED CHOICES TO HELP THEM MEET THEIR NUTRITIONAL NEEDS
“Soft drink manufacturers understand that many people are struggling to keep their calories down and manage their weight, and we’ve introduced an array of no cal and low cal soft drinks, teas, and juice drinks to help them do that,” said Kathleen Dezio, spokeswoman for the beverage association. “The beverage industry also recognizes that many people need to increase their calcium consumption, and we’ve developed many new options for people who are either lactose intolerant or simply do not like to drink milk,” Dezio said.
In the mid-1980s, beverage producers introduced calcium-fortified juices, and have since introduced Vitamin D-fortified beverages. Examples include Minute Maid Vitamin D and calcium-fortified juices from The Coca-Cola Company and the Tropicana Pure Premium and Tropicana Essentials lines of fortified juices from PepsiCo.
Consumers have shown strong interest in these innovations, and the calcium-fortified juice segment has grown dramatically. U.S. sales of orange juice enriched with calcium have increased in recent years to nearly $1 billion in 2003.
Other fortified juices today include: Tropicana Light ‘n Healthy, Tropicana Pure Premium Healthy Kids, Tropicana Pure Premium, Tropicana Pure Premium Calcium + Vitamin D, Simply Orange, Minute Maid Premium Blends (Orange Passion, Orange Tangerine), Minute Maid juice boxes, Juices to Go OJ with calcium, Minute Maid Premium Light, 100% Juiced!, Snapple Vitamin Supreme, Motts juice drinks, Nantucket Nectars, and Hawaiian Punch Light. Cadbury Schweppes also recently introduced 7 UP Plus, a carbonated juice drink, with Vitamin C and calcium.
OTHER STUDIES INDICATE SOFT DRINK CONSUMPTION IS NOT LINKED TO DECREASED CALCIUM CONSUMPTION
Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s Center for Food and Nutrition Policy published a study in the February 2004 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that found that calcium intake is not linked to soft drink consumption and has remained stable, although inadequate, among adolescents since the 1970s.
The Virginia Tech study, conducted by Maureen Storey, PhD, Richard Forshee, PhD and Patricia Anderson, MPP, assessed diet and beverage choices of boys and girls in four age groups: two- to three-year-olds, four- to eight-year-olds, nine- to 13-year olds, and 14- to 18-year-olds. The data used in the study were from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s US Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals from (CSFII) 1994-96 and 1998.
The researchers found that although milk and milk products have the strongest association with calcium intake, soft drink consumption was not linked to decreased calcium consumption.
Another peer reviewed study published in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Family Economics and Nutrition Review (Y.K. Park et al. v 14, p. 69-79) examined trends in children’s beverage consumption ages one to 19 over three decades (1987 to 1998). The study found that consumption of carbonated soft drinks during this period decreased significantly for children ages one to five years, while consumption of milk increased. In addition, milk consumption remained stable for all other ages, and consumption of low fat milk became more prevalent than consumption of whole milk.
The Storey study was funded with an unrestricted grant from the National Soft Drink Association, and the Park study was funded in part by the National Soft Drink Association.
TEEN MILK CONSUMPTION IS INCREASING
Soft drink manufacturers also produce a range of milk-based products for consumers who do enjoy and can tolerate milk. The American Dairy Association & Dairy Council have acknowledged that milk is more popular when it comes in flavors, and announced that annual milk consumption among children ages six through 12 was up to 28 gallons in 2002—the highest it has been in 10 years. According to the dairy industry, milk drinking among 13- to 17-year-olds was up almost three percent in 2001 and 6.8 percent in 2002. Overall milk sales also increased in 2002.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to consume a variety of foods and beverages in moderation and to get daily exercise. Beverage companies offer consumers a variety of beverages, including bottled water, teas, sports drinks, fruit juices, fruit drinks, milk-based beverages, regular soft drinks, mid-calorie soft drinks and diet drinks.
The American Beverage Association (www.ameribev.org) is the premier trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute alcohol-free beverages in the United States.