First they told us fat was killing us, then coffee, then salt, then eggs, then cholesterol. Now the same experts have turned to sugar as Public Enemy No. 1. But what is the basis for attack?

Sugar has been safely consumed for thousands of years. As a carbohydrate it contains calories, 4 per gram to be exact. Sugar is metabolized by the body the same way whether it comes from beets, apples or corn, whether it is added to a product or intrinsic to it.

Yet the “health dangers” of it has been splashed across newspapers and posted all over social media.

Enter Jonathan Kingsman, whose simple chart illustrates a fact that food police may not like. Obesity rates for adults and children have risen over the past 40 years while at the same time sugar consumption has fallen. This data comes straight from the U.S. government and shows that sugar consumption is not what is driving rates of obesity and diabetes.

Obesity is a real public health challenge and something that has to be addressed by our nation. To solve it we need to look at real facts, not mislead people into believing wrongly that avoiding one nutrient will cure them. Obesity and obesity-related conditions such as diabetes have multiple risk factors, including genetics, a lack of physical activity, and the over-consumption of calories from any source.

In the past four decades Americans have added 450 extra calories to their daily diet. Only about 34 of those calories are from sugar.

“Now it is possible that those 34 extra calories from calorific sweeteners are responsible for the obesity epidemic. But isn't it more likely that the problem comes from the total 450 daily calories, not from the 34 from sweeteners,” Kingsman says.

Obesity results from an imbalance of total calories in vs. total calories burned. That is why it is critical to look at the entire diet when managing weight.

Some of our products have calories, which is why our member companies are stepping up to do their part. They deliver many options, including low- and no-calorie options and smaller portion sizes, so people can make the choices that are right for them and their families. Choice, along with information about maintaining balance, is a realistic approach to tackling obesity.

Learn more about all of the product choices America’s beverage industry is providing Americans to help achieve balance and moderation by visiting