Your soft drinks will soon have less calories

Your soft drinks will soon have less calories

Coca Cola and Pepsi promise to reduce calories in their drinks, but will it make a difference?

US soft-drinks giants Tuesday promised to work to reduce the country’s beverage calorie consumption by 20 percent by 2025 in a campaign to counter obesity trends.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr. Pepper Snapple pledged to provide smaller-sized bottles, and more water and other low- or no-calorie beverages, to the market to help bring down per-person consumption of their high-sugar drinks. They also agreed to better publicize calorie counts on vending machines, retail coolers and all drink-vending equipment controlled by the companies.

The companies also said they would intensify awareness campaigns and promotion of healthier beverages in communities where there have been fewer options to soft drinks. They will retain an independent evaluator to track progress, in conjunction with an advocacy group.

Public health advocates said the measures did not go far enough.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the initiative was “welcome news,” but called on the companies to drop their opposition to taxes and warning labels on sugary drinks.

Taxing “could further reduce calories in America’s beverage mix even more quickly,” the group said in a statement.

Marion Nestle, a nutrition and public health professor at New York University, said the companies would have no problem reaching the 20 percent target in light of consumption trends that are already happening.

“If they really want to promote public health, they should stop fighting soda taxes and lobbying against this and other public health measures,” she said in an email message. “This is pure public relations.”

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