Few disagree that the consumption of sugary beverages is contributing to the national crisis of obesity and chronic disease, including Type 2 diabetes.
Various ideas have been suggested to cut sugar consumption, including taxing sugary beverages (most recently in Berkeley and in the Navajo Nation). Another idea is to shrink the size of serving cups.
One of the latest ideas is to require soda to carry a warning label. Lawmakers in California and New York are taking a lesson from the anti-tobacco movement and seeking the inclusion of a similar looking message for soda. In the case of tobacco, it’s worked: the number of U.S. smokers has declined steadily in the fifty years since the surgeon general’s warning label first appeared on cigarette packages.
The proposed California label reads:
While the California bill seems to be gaining support, expect a battle from the beverage industry.
“The beverage industry already provides consumer-friendly labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce,” American Beverage Association vice president William Dermody writes in an email to The Salt. “A misleading warning label that singles out one industry for complex health challenges will not change behaviors or educate people about healthy lifestyles.”
If you’re interested in learning more about sugar consumption and its impact on human health, you may wish to visit SugarScience, a website collaboratively managed by faculty and researchers from UC San Francisco, UC Davis and Emory University. SugarScience is a definitive source of evidence-based, scientific information about sugar and its impact on health.