Diabetes and other obesity-related conditions are serious public health challenges that communities across the world are facing. The causes of these diseases are complex. In an NPR story, reporter Susan Brink discusses the rise in diabetes worldwide with Dr. Majid Ezzati of the School of Public Health at the Imperial College of London.
Dr. Ezzati has found in his research that diabetes is not driven by “a lot of fast food and commercial food” as some have claimed but is instead driven by access to more of whatever has been traditionally eaten. “Eating more of the same foods increases BMI [body mass index]. Calories are calories and carbs are carbs. If they're eating the white rice that they traditionally ate, but eating more of it, that could be increasing BMI.”
There is no single food, beverage or ingredient that uniquely contributes to obesity or any other obesity-related condition such as diabetes – we must look at the whole diet. We recognize, however, that some of our industry’s beverages do have calories. That’s why American’s leading beverage companies are doing their part to help Americans manage their calorie and sugar intake. Through innovation we are providing a wide range of no- and lower-calorie and smaller-portion options and we’re informing consumers with our front-of-pack calorie labeling. We're also working toward an aggressive goal to reduce beverage calories in the American diet by 20 percent nationally by 2025 with our Balance Calories Initiative. These are efforts that will have real and lasting impact.