News Releases & Statements
American Beverage Association Statement
In response to "Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study," a paper published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the American Beverage Association issued the following statement:
"To be clear, this study does not show that consuming diet soft drinks can cause adverse health effects. It simply shows a correlation which is easily explained by other factors in the study - most notably age. Importantly, medical experts, including the American Dietetic Association, recommend diet soft drinks as a weight management tool, particularly for people at risk for vascular events or stroke."
Additional Background Information:
On the Study:
- The authors themselves note that they look at association, which is not the same as proving cause and effect.
- While this is a 10-year follow-up study, the authors use baseline soft drink consumption in an attempt to assess what happens 10 years later. This major flaw assumes that consumption patterns have not changed, and therefore renders the analyses useless.
- It is important to recognize that the authors looked at a group of subjects whose average age was 69. Yet the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health notes that one of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke is being 55 years and older for men and 65 years or older for women.
- The study also finds an association of diet soft drinks and former smoking, so any effect that is being attributed to the diet soft drinks may in fact be caused by the well-known detrimental effects of tobacco use.
On Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke:
- According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, heart disease and stroke risk factors that can be controlled are high blood pressure or hypertension; abnormal blood cholesterol levels; tobacco use; diabetes; overweight; and physical inactivity.
- Risk factors beyond our control include age, that is being 55 years and older for men and 65 years or older for women; family history of early heart disease; or family history of stroke.
On Cardiovascular Disease:
- Heart disease is a complex problem with no single cause and no simple solution.
- According to the American Heart Association, the major risk factors for heart disease are increasing age, gender (being male), genetics (including race), smoking and being overweight or obese.
- When it comes to risk for heart disease, there is nothing unique about the calories from added sugars, or sugar-sweetened beverages for that matter. In fact, this has been confirmed by the Institute of Medicine.
- While many risk factors are beyond our control, there are things we can do - including not smoking, maintaining an appropriate body weight and being physically fit - to help mitigate risk for heart disease.
- If we truly want to reduce the incidence of heart disease, health professionals as well as other stakeholders must educate Americans about the risk factors and encourage people not to smoke (or not to start smoking) and maintain a healthy weight by balancing calories consumed - which includes eating a sensible, balanced diet - with calories burned by engaging in regular physical activity.
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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.