Limit Added Sugars In Beverages - Consumer Group UrgesEditor's Choice
Main Category: Nutrition / Diet
Also Included In: Public Health; Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness
Article Date: 13 Feb 2013 - 11:00 PST
Limit Added Sugars In Beverages - Consumer Group Urges
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High levels of sugar or corn syrup in sodas are a major cause of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
As part of a strategy to reduce the American population's incredibly high sugar intake, the group, along with many other health-advocacy organizations, are proposing that the FDA strongly considers setting a safe limit on the level of sugar allowed in beverages.
Support for the proposal has already been backed by the public health departments of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore, and Boston.
Currently, The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for women and 9 for men. However, just one typical 20-ounce bottle of soda already contains twice this recommended limit - at about 16 teaspoons of sugar per bottle. The CSPI states that even though there are many concerns about the safety of consuming artificial sweeteners, the health risks associated with regular sodas appears to be far greater.
Hopefully, the rise of new high-potency sweeteners (such as rebiana) will help promote a gradual change to safer soft drinks.
The CSPI executive director, Michael F. Jacobson, said:
"As currently formulated, Coke, Pepsi, and other sugar-based drinks are unsafe for regular human consumption. Like a slow-acting but ruthlessly efficient bioweapon, sugar drinks cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The FDA should require the beverage industry to re-engineer their sugary products over several years, making them safer for people to consume, and less conducive to disease."
In an effort to drive this change, the CSPI filed a 54-page petition to the FDA containing a range of scientific evidence indicating that excessive sugar consumption can cause obesity, diabetes, and a whole range of other chronic diseases.
The petition also quotes recent clinical trials that show that people who drink sugary drinks put on more weight and experience a greater increase in LDL cholesterol levels, than those who drink sugar-free options.
A previous study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that teenagers who drink lots of sugary sodas have poor cholesterol profiles which can lead to serious heart problems later in life.
Walter Willett, one of the leading scientists who supported the petition, and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, added: "If one were trying to ensure high rates of obesity, diabetes, or heart disease in a population, one would feed the population large doses of sugary drinks.The evidence is so strong that it is essential that FDA use its authority to make sugary drinks safer."
Americans consume an average of close to 400 calories' worth of added sugars each day, making up one of the biggest sources of total daily calorie intake. In addition, one quarter of total calorie consumption comes from added sugars in around twenty percent of teenagers.
The petition asks the FDA to determine what the safe level of added sugars should be and gradually phase to that limit over the next several years. The petition did not include what the safe level should be, although many health agencies consider 10 grams (two and a half teaspoons) to be a reasonable limit. They also ask that the FDA encourage the food industry to voluntarily decrease the amount of sugar in other products, such as breakfast cereals, baked goods, and other foods.
According to the CEO of a major East Coast Pepsi bottler, Harold Honickman:
"You will see Pepsi and Coke and Dr Pepper coming up with a whole variety of no-calorie sweeteners. I honestly think that you will find 'regular' Pepsi, 'regular' Coke with new kinds of sweeteners. They will be better-tasting drinks than we have today."
Many health experts have compared the health effects of sodas to even that of cigarettes. New York, Los Angeles and Washington have all begun advertising campaigns to try and discourage people from buying sugary drinks, in fact, recently the city of Boston even prohibited the sale of sugary drinks on city property.
Written by Joseph Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
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19 Jun. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256356.php>
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