Sugar-sweetened beverages are often activists’ favorite fall-guy for rising obesity rates. However, after recent reports that sugar-sweetened beverage sales are at 30 year-lows one has to question this logic. An article from Discovery News reaches the same conclusion.

“This leads to an apparent contradiction: If it’s true, as Dr. Farley and others have claimed, that soft drinks are the dominant contributor to the weekly caloric intake by most Americans, how can it be that the general population has gained weight over the past decades, at the same time that soda consumption has declined?”

Obesity is a serious public health challenge that communities across our nation are facing. However, blaming a single product as the unique driver of obesity is not only inaccurate but does not address this serious public health issue. Quite simply, no single food, beverage or ingredient is a unique contributor to obesity or any other health condition. Obesity results from an imbalance of calories in and calories out. To maintain balance, we must keep an eye on the totality of calories we take in from all foods and beverages.

Unfortunately, the article misses the mark on how to best address the obesity challenge. Instead of regressive taxes, bans or warning labels – which don’t improve public health - we need to empower and educate consumers to help them find their balance.

Our industry is doing its part to help Americans manage their calorie and sugar intake. Through innovation we are offering a variety of no- and lower-calorie and smaller portion options, and providing them with front-of-pack calorie information they need to choose what fits their day. We're also working toward an aggressive goal to reduce beverage calories in the American diet by 20 percent by 2025 with our Balance Calories Initiative. It’s through these efforts that we will achieve real and lasting solutions to the complex health challenges like obesity.

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