Sugary soda consumption has declined, but obesity has not

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As New Yorkers prepare for the ban on the sale of some sugary sweetened beverages exceeding 16 ounces that will go into effect in March, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that in the last decade, consumption of calories from sugar in regular soda has actually decreased.

Interview data obtained from a federal nutrition survey reveal that intake of sugar from soda beverages decreased from 150 calories daily in 2000 to 91 calories per day in 2008. Meanwhile, the data also showed an increase in diet soda consumption, which went up from 18 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2010 among women, and up from 14 percent to 19 percent in men during the same period.

As ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross points out, the latest study findings undercut the rationale that sugary beverages have significantly contributed to the growing obesity epidemic. Within the last decade, obesity rates have increased, yet as the CDC analysis finds, consumption of sugar from sodas decreased during the same time period. This further substantiates the fact that taxing sugar-sweetened beverages will not significantly prevent obesity.

While ACSH supports those who switch to diet beverages, not everyone feels the same way. Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, told USA Today that such diet products are controversial because it is unclear whether they are safe and help people control weight.

But this comment is disingenuous there are no reliable data indicating that diet products are unsafe, and certainly reducing calorie intake from any source will help with weight control, counters ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava.