Recently we’ve seen some food activists allege that sugar-sweetened beverages “cause” obesity, diabetes and a host of other adverse health conditions. Obviously they are hoping you never look at the science behind their claims. Because it doesn’t exist.

Obesity, diabetes and other chronic health conditions like hypertension are caused by a multitude of factors, including genetics, race, diet, physical activity, socio-economic and behavioral factors, even sleep patterns. According to science no single food, beverage or ingredient uniquely causes these health conditions.

It is wrong to suggest to people that reducing or eliminating beverages from the diet will uniquely lower the incidence of these serious health conditions. An imbalance of calories may not be healthy, but one needs to look at all sources of calories – as well as those being burned off through physical activity - when seeking balance.

Calories from soda account for a mere 4 percent of the total calories in the average diet. And the calories from soda are no different than calories from the other 96 percent of the diet. Beverages can certainly be part of a balanced diet.

So what’s the answer? Education is the key to achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle. We need accurate information to help us make decisions about our diets and to achieve balance in our day-to-day lives.

The beverage industry is working to help consumers do just that. We have put clear calorie information on every bottle, can and pack we produce. We are placing calorie information on more than 3 million fountains, vending machines and coolers nationwide, allowing people to check calories before choosing their drink. Through our Balance Calories Initiative, we have set a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025 by increasing interest in and access to waters, no- and low-calorie beverages and smaller portions.

And if you want to learn more about the facts of our beverages, check out