Yesterday, a California Senate Health committee voted down a bill that would require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages.  This will be the second time such a warning label bill failed to advance in California.

It appears the backers of this piece of legislation could not get enough members of the Committee to support it – which we believe is a good thing for Californians as it would only mislead people about the causes of health issues like obesity and diabetes.

Dr. Liz Applegate, a nutrition and fitness expert who  is a professor of nutrition and director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis, told Capitol Public Radio that the bill would confuse consumers.

“Obesity and diabetes can simply not be narrowed down to [one] causative factor and [sugar-sweetened] beverages are not the cause," Applegate said.

The Los Angeles Times has editorialized against the idea, pointing out that beverages “already have good, factual labeling.” Applegate agreed in a Times article on the vote.

"We insult consumers by simplifying a complex disease and stating that sugar-sweetened beverages cause their obesity," Applegate said.

We agree.  Warning labels that single out one product or one ingredient will not help reduce obesity rates.  To get serious about reducing obesity we need to move past public policy debates that will have no meaningful impact and onto real solutions.  And that is why our member companies are empowering consumers to make the choices that are right for them.

Through our Balance Calories Initiative, America’s beverage companies will leverage their marketing, innovation and distribution strengths to work toward a common goal of reducing beverage calories in the American diet.   At its core, this initiative is about providing consumers a range of beverage options, calorie information to help them make the choices that are right for them, and encouragement to help them balance all of their calories – including those from beverages – with daily physical activity.

These are efforts that will have real and lasting impact in helping Californians, and all Americans, maintain a balanced lifestyle – unlike misguided and misleading warning labels.

For more information on how our industry is helping consumers to make the choices that are right for them, visit