Even though SB 1000, California’s soda warning label bill, failed, it created a ton of misleading buzz in the media regarding sugar-sweetened beverages as the cause of America's diabetes and obesity problems.
Health, whether the health of an individual or the collective health of millions of Americans, is complex and the result of multiple factors Yet politicians are trying to put all the blame on one single product. Liz Applegate, senior lecturer in the nutrition department at UC-Davis, points out in her Sacramento Bee op-ed, that this scapegoating is grossly misleading. Consumers haven’t and shouldn’t believe the overly simplistic – and highly inaccurate – explanation for obesity that some politicians want to push on them – that sugar-sweetened beverages are the main cause of their health problems and that somehow taxing or banning these products will solve these issues.
Today, beverage companies have put a number of low- and no-calorie beverage options on the market that consumers can choose for themselves and their families. In fact, the use of low-calorie sweeteners can actually help in weight management, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The bottom line is, instead of misleading consumers and imposing ridiculous taxes and bans on everyday household products, politicians should invest in educational programs and initiatives that would help people make informed decisions when they are grocery shopping. For instance, did you know that during the past four decades as obesity rates climbed, the American food supply added an additional 445 calories per day. While fats, oils and starches comprised 376 (84%) of these additional calories, sugar – from all sources – played a relatively minor role, contributing only 34 calories (9%).
Government, please just leave the grocery shopping to us. We don’t need you to make these decisions for us.