Tag Archives soda/soft drink

The chair of the California Senate’s Select Committee on Obesity and Diabetes has reportedly announced a November 2009 hearing to discuss the purported link between sweetened beverage consumption and obesity. An author of the state’s menu labeling laws, California Senator Alex Padilla (D-San Fernando Valley) issued the September 17, 2009, press release in response to a report published by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Titled Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and its Link to Obesity in California, the study used data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey to conclude that “41 percent of children (ages 2-11), 62 percent of adolescents (ages 12-17) and 24 percent of adults drink at least one soda or other sugar-sweetened beverage every day.” It also apparently found that “adults who drink one or more sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages every day are 27 percent more likely…

A new anti-obesity ad unveiled by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene depicts globs of human fat gushing from a soda bottle and asks the question: “Are you pouring on the pounds? Don’t drink yourself fat.” The ad urges viewers to choose water, seltzer or low-fat milk instead of high-calorie sodas and juice drinks. The $277,000 ad, which will run in 1,500 subways subway cars for three months, was apparently denounced by the American Beverage Association as “counterproductive to serious efforts to address a complex issues such as obesity.” ABA spokesperson Kevin Keane said the ad campaign is “over the top and unfortunately is going to undermine meaningful efforts to educate people about how to maintain a healthy weight by balancing calories consumed from all foods and beverages with calories burned through exercise.” But Cathy Nonas, a dietitian for the city’s health and mental hygiene department,…

The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued guidelines on limiting the consumption of added sugars, claiming that most American women should consume no more than 100 calories (six teaspoons) of added sugars per day and men no more than 150 calories (nine teaspoons). Citing a report from the 2001-04 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, AHA notes that the average intake of added sugars for all Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day. The AHA guidelines provide information about “the relationship between excess sugar intake and metabolic abnormalities, adverse health conditions and shortfalls in essential nutrients.” “Sugar has no nutritional value other than to provide calories,” said lead author and nutrition professor Rachel Johnson in an AHA press release. “Consuming foods and beverages with excessive amounts of added sugars displaces more nutritious foods and beverages for many people.” Johnson purports that sugars added to foods during processing or preparation are linked…

A federal court in New York has decided to allow most parts of a new state bottle-deposit law to take effect, lifting a injunction that would have delayed implementation until April 2010. Int’l Bottled Water Ass’n v. Paterson, No. 09-4672 (S.D.N.Y., decided August 13, 2009). Additional details about the litigation challenging the law’s constitutionality appear in issue 305 of this Update. The court’s decision overturns an order entered in late May 2009 granting injunctive relief. According to a news source, the ruling means that soft drink and beer makers must now give the state 80 percent of the unclaimed 5-cent deposits, and store and redemption handling fees will increase from 2 cents to 3.5 cents per container. Water companies making products containing flavored water, vitamin water and artificial sweeteners have apparently been given until October 22 to comply with the law, unless they can prove compliance is impossible. They did…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has written to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) requesting that the federal government “levy a tax on non-diet soft drinks to recoup some of the costs incurred by the government from the consumption of these drinks, as well as to reduce consumption.” Others signing the June 17, 2009, letter are the American Public Health Association, Consumers Union, Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, Kelly Brownell of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, and Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health. Claiming that “soft drinks are the only food or beverage shown to have a direct link to obesity,” CSPI contends that “a new federal excise tax of one penny per 12-ounce soda could generate more than $1.5 billion per year” and that even higher taxes “could raise roughly $16 billion a year— an…

Greek scientists have published a study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice that reportedly examines six cases of cola-induced potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) involving muscle weakness and paralysis in adults. V. Tsimihodimos, et al., “Cola-induced hypokalemia: pathophysiological mechanisms and clinical implications,” The International Journal of Clinical Practice, June 2009. Researchers with the University of Ioannina, Greece, have identified six reported occurrences since 1994 of hypokalemia in adults who consumed several liters of soda per day. “Fortunately,” stated the lead author, “all patients had a rapid and complete recovery after the discontinuation of cola ingestion and the oral or intravenous supplementation of potassium.” According to a companion editorial by Associate Professor of Medicine C.D. Packer of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the study authors “make a compelling argument that potassium depletion should be added to the long list of soft drink-related health problems.” The editorial encourages internists to start…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reverse a policy adopted during the Bush administration that precludes states from using federal nutrition education funds to discourage the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. In a June 12, 2009, letter, CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson, Director of Legal Affairs Bruce Silverglade and Senior Staff Attorney Ilene Ringel Heller take issue with a 2003 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) memorandum telling state officials that they could not use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds to disparage or criticize any food. It was apparently issued after Maine launched an ad campaign encouraging residents to reduce their soda consumption. According to CSPI, this policy has been continued under the new administration, appearing in recent SNAP education guidance materials that state, “SNAP-Ed funds may not be used to convey negative written, visual, or verbal expressions about specific foods,…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has launched a campaign to halve the amount of sodium in prepackaged foods and restaurant meals within 10 years. CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson this week presented the group’s case to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, claiming that “Because it raises blood pressure and increases the risk of hypertension, heart attacks and kidney disease, salt is arguably the most harmful ingredient in our food supply.” According to Jacobson, “Gradually reducing sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods by half would ultimately save an estimated 150,000 lives and billions of dollars annually.” Jacobson’s testimony underscored a concurrent CSPI exposé on restaurant meals that contain more than 4,000 mg of sodium per plate. The consumer advocacy group apparently examined meals at 17 restaurant chains, finding that “85 out of 102 meals had more than a day’s worth of sodium, and some had more…

Health Canada has published the results of a survey it conducted to detect and measure levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in canned beverages such as soft drinks, tea and energy drinks. The federal agency detected the chemical in nearly all of the samples tested, with some of the highest levels appearing in energy drinks containing caffeine. Health Canada scientists detected no BPA in two tonic water products and one energy drink product. According to the survey, “It is believed that quinine hydrochloride, which is commonly used as a bittering agent in tonic type drinks, may interfere with BPA extraction.” While the levels found in the beverages were below regulatory limits, some scientists are reportedly concerned that the large number of sources of exposure may pose cumulative risks to human health. University of Missouri biologist Frederick vom Saal contends that harmful effects of the chemical, which mimics the effects of estrogen in…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has reportedly dropped plans to sue Cadbury-Schweppes for marketing 7UP® as “all natural” despite the presence of high-fructose corn syrup in its product. The beverage company apparently issued a statement indicating that it will highlight those ingredients “for which there is no debate” over whether they are natural. CSPI warned the company in May 2006 that it was planning to file a lawsuit and had been in negotiations over the matter. CSPI Litigation Director Steve Gardner was quoted as saying, “We look forward to seeing exactly which words the company uses to describe its ingredients on labels and on marketing materials, but trust they won’t imply that high-fructose corn syrup is ‘natural.’” CSPI has also announced that the group “may file previously announced lawsuits against Coca-Cola and Nestlé (over Enviga, a deceptively labeled green tea drink positioned as a weight-loss aid) and…

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