Marion Nestle: The Soda Industry’s Promises Mean Nothing

Public health advocate Marion Nestle cautions against the soda industry’s careful PR spinning about curbing American obesity

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

"Soda companies are making promises that are likely to be fulfilled anyway, whether the companies take any action or not," writes Nestle.

In Time magazine this week, Marion Nestle, New York University’s professor of nutrition, food studies, and public heath professor (and 2014’s Food Innovator of the Year) wrote a compelling rebuttal to the soda industry’s pledge to cut American’s drink calorie consumption by one-fifth over the next decade.

The soda industry has framed the decision to cut calories as a means to fight American obesity.

Not quite, says Nestle.

Despite the industry’s carefully publicized efforts to pat itself on the back, the real story is that soda consumption is already on the decline within the US, prompting companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi to focus more on their international markets. It will be easy for the industry to meet its reduction promises because Americans are becoming less and less interested in soda anyway.

“If the soda industry really wants to help prevent obesity, it needs to change its current practices,” writes Nestle. “It should stop fighting tax and size initiatives, stop opposing warning labels on sugary drinks, stop lobbying against restrictions on sodas in schools, stop using sports and music celebrities to sell products to children, stop targeting marketing to African-American and Hispanic young people, and stop funding research studies designed to give sodas a clean bill of health.”

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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.  

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