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Soda- Should FDA intervene with its formula?

Should formula for soda be modified?


Anti-obesity advocates are at it again. Reuters reports that advocates from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), have asked the government to limit the amount of sugar that is added to soda and other beverages.

This is not the first regulations that the (CSPI) requested. In fact, the group has been working to lower the consumption of sugar by all Americans since the 1970s. In the recent 54 page petition, which the CSPI filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the group advocates a series of steps that could “trim the waistlines of American adults.”



The seriousness of obesity has been highlighted over the last several years as the rate of overweight children and adults has risen. It is now estimated that more than two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children aged 2 to 19 are overweight or obese. While there are many contributing factors, experts contend that sugar-sweetened drinks are a significant source of extra calories in many individual’s diets.

Will the CSPI be successful?


Although many acknowledge that soda may be part of the problem, it is unlikely the FDA will take fast action. Groups such as the American Beverage Association (ABA) and other industry groups argue that soda is just one of many general reasons for the nation’s increased obesity rates and they are being unfairly blamed. In recent years they have fought actions on several fronts to avoid increased taxes and regulations.

After the petition was submitted to the FDA the ABA complained that “everyone has a role to play in reducing obesity levels.” And they may have a point. With the calorie of each soda clearly stated on the can it is up to the consumer to limit their daily intake. The ADA could argue it is much more about self-control and limiting serving size than changing their product.

CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson, however, disagrees. He believes that the current formula for Coke, Pepsi and other sugar-based drinks are “unsafe for regular human consumption.” His suggestion is for the soda industry to modify their product, making it healthier to consume.

How much sugar is in a soda?


It’s estimated a 20-ounce bottle of soda contains approximately 16 teaspoons of sugar. This is substantially higher than the American Heart Association’s recommendation that individuals consumer no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of added sugar. Unfortunately, the extra added sugars translate to extra calories, an estimated 300 to 400 per day.

While a study done by Tufts University found that “consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was the most consistent dietary factor associated with weight gain,” critics argue that obesity may have other contributing factors. In fact, the average amount of soft drinks consumed each year has actually declined from 54 gallons in 1998 to 44.6 gallons. More individuals have switched to diet drinks, sports drinks, and teas. Unfortunately, this switch has not lowered the obesity rate, which has continued to climb even with the decrease in soda consumption.

Not everyone can agree on the solution or the cause, but they generally agree that the current trajectory of obesity in America is unsustainable.

 
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