Baltimore business owners are worried about the economic impact of new legislation that would slap “warning labels” on commonly purchased beverages in a misguided attempt to improve public health. The truth is government regulation like warning labels and other discriminatory methods do not help people lead balanced lifestyles.

Besides having no impact on public health, regressive regulations are harmful to small businesses. Cailey Locklair Tolle, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, shared this concern in a recent Baltimore Business Journal article, “At a time when Baltimore City is struggling to retain and attract grocery stores and supermarkets this new mandate will have a chilling effect… Many residents in the city already live in food deserts and this legislation will do nothing to address this serious problem."

Obesity and diabetes are more complicated than a warning label. These and other health issues have been shown by the body of science to be caused by a multitude of factors, not by a single beverage or food. It is counterproductive to suggest that legislation affecting some sugar-sweetened beverages will be the silver bullet solution to this complex issue.

If public health advocates and politicians really want to address obesity, they should focus on real and meaningful solutions rooted in fact-based science and not by pushing their personal opinions. Maintaining a healthy weight and balanced lifestyle comes down to balancing all of the calories we consume daily with physical activity. Our member companies’ front-of-pack labeling already gives Americans clear calorie information and they offer a wide range of options and sizes to help people meet their daily balance.

To learn more about why government regulations won’t make people healthy check out