California Sugary Drink Warning Advances

Sugary drink warning legislation is advancing in the California senate, with a vote in the full senate expected as early as Wednesday. After that, the legislation would have to pass the state assembly and then go to Governor Jerry Brown for final signature. If passed, all bottles and cans of sugary drinks sold in California would have to carry a warning that says:

Drinking beverages with added sugars contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

Saccharin WarningIronically, the only other warning label on soft drinks appeared on sugar-free sodas sweetened with saccharin from 1977 to 2000. Long before that warning label was finally removed, it had become a joke. Scientists had long understood that saccharin did not increase the risk of cancer in humans.

In a statewide, independent poll earlier this year, the Field Poll organization found that 74% of California residents supported a health warning label on sugary soft drinks. This level of support was higher than the support they found for a tax on sugary soft drinks in the same poll.

State senator Bill Monnig, who is now advancing the sugary drink warning law, last year proposed legislation to impose a tax on sugary soft drinks. That legislation failed to pass into law.

Speaking for the beverage industry, Lisa Katic pointed out that the soft drinks are not the main source of added sugars in the American diet and that there’s no evidence that this measure would do anything to prevent obesity, diabetes, or tooth decay.

If a sugary drink warning becomes law, we hope to see objective research on its impact.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” — Albert Einstein

Click here to read more about the legislation from Reuters and here to read more about the Field Poll.

Warning, photograph © Nicolas Raymond / flickr

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