We’ve written a lot about soda lately. From the death of a 31-year-old woman attributed to Coca-Cola to Diet Coke’s role in Type 2 diabetes, it seems like every day there’s some kind of crazy story or study about how bad soft drinks are for you. And today’s no different. A nutritional interest group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is now asking the federal government to set limits as to the amount of sugar that can be in soft drinks.
The CPSI says the amount of sugar in the American diet is “dangerously high” and says that it, and soft drinks, are a large factor in the growing rates of diabetes:
“Tens of millions of people are consuming very large amounts – five or six a day and more than doubling their risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Michael Jacobson, executive director of the CPSI, a man often pegged as a “nutrition nanny” said that urging the FDA to fight back against the gross amounts of added sugars in drinks could be a powerful step in the right direction for American public health. He called the marketing of soft drinks products to the public “ubiquitous” and said that Americans consume “far more” servings of sugar per day than is considered ok by the World Health Organization, the federal government, or the American Heart Association.
The dietary guidelines for Americans and the heart association recommend people eat about 32 grams, or about 8 teaspoons, of sugar a day. Surveys have shown the average person consumes about 18 to 23 teaspoons a day. WHOA. That’s at least double the amount, on the low end! Jacobson said that on average, Americans eat about 78 pounds of sugar per year per person, which scientists say can be harmful.
Remember how Gary Taubes told Reddit sugar was “addicting?” I’m sure Michael Jacobson would agree, although he says that sugar itself is not a toxin and that having small amounts of it is fine.
According to the LA Times, the CSPI defines sugar as:
…sweeteners from cane and beets, corn, honey, brown rice, malt and other sources of what Jacobson called “nutritionally worthless calories.”
41 scientists and physicians signed a letter to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg in support of CSPI’s petition. Their petition to limit sugar in beverages also has the support of the public health departments in Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle and Portland. From what we know about New York City government and Mayor Bloomberg’s opinions on soda, I imagine they’re on board, too.
And because we so often write about the myriad ills of sugar and soft drinks here on Blisstree, I imagine that most of us would be on board with some sort of FDA regulation on the amount of sugar in soft drinks, too.
What do you think? Do you think the amount of sugar in these drinks should be regulated by the government? The FDA is required to respond to the petition within 180 days. A spokeswoman said that public comments are welcome, so feel free to make your voice heard.