Heavier dieters using diet drinks should look at food too, study says

Jan. 16, 2014, Los Angeles Times

By Mary MacVean

Overweight and obese adults who use diet drinks to help them lose weight need to take another look at the food they eat, according to researchers who reported Jan. 16 that those people ate more food calories than overweight people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages.

The scientists writing in the American Journal of Public Health did not say the dieters should give up on no- and low-calorie drinks; rather, they said the dieters should look at what else they’re consuming, especially sweet snacks, to find other ways to modify their diets. Continue reading

Study: Most people don’t know how not how many calories are in soda

Jan. 3, 2014, Huffington Post

Even though it’s widely known that soda can contribute to weight gain, the majority of adults don’t actually know how many calories are in a bottle of soda, a new study reveals.

The research, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and based on data from 3,926 adults, shows that eight in 10 adults — 84.4 percent — know that sugar-sweetened beverages can promote weight gain. However, nearly the same percentage of adults — 81 percent — did not know (or inaccurately stated) the number of calories in 24 ounces of soda. (There are 251 to 350 calories in a 24-ounce soda).

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found that knowledge about sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain, as well as the calorie information of sugar-sweetened beverages, differed by sex, household income, education level, and race. Continue reading

Are sugary drinks fattening? Depends who you ask

Jan. 3, 2014, The New York Times

By Nicholas Bakalar

Are there good scientific studies that show that drinking sugar-sweetened soda increases the risk for obesity? The answer may vary depending on who is paying for the study.

Researchers examined 17 large reviews of the subject (one review assessed results for adults and children separately, so there were 18 sets of study conclusions). Six of the studies reported receiving funds from industry groups, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association and others. The other 12 reviews claimed no conflicts of interest. The analysis appears in the December issue of PLOS Medicine. Continue reading

Study: As cost of sugary drinks go up, sales go down

Nov. 14, 2013, USA Today

By Nanci Hellmich

People bought fewer sugary drinks when the price was higher than no-calorie or low-cal drinks.

Raising the cost of high-calorie beverages by a few cents — and highlighting calorie content in places where they are sold — decreases sales, a new study shows.

This research comes after much discussion in recent years about trying to combat the nation’s obesity crisis by adding extra taxes to the cost of sugar-sweetened beverages, sometimes called a “soda tax.”

Researchers at Harvard conducted a study in the cafeteria of a financial services company. They increased the price of high-calorie beverages (those that contained 150 calories or more per container), mostly soda, lemonade, whole chocolate milk, and some juices, by $.01 cent per ounce. Continue reading

Rudd Center webinar explores how to use strategic science to influence public policy

The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity recently held a webinar demonstrating how to use strategic science to affect policy outcomes that promote healthy behaviors. The webinar, “Case studies in strategic science to inform public policy,” outlines the steps to effectively conduct research and disseminate findings to enact change. The webinar also showcases three case studies that demonstrate these steps: (1) Reducing marketing of sugary cereals to children; (2) advocating for and evaluating a state competitive foods law; (3) advocating for sugar-sweetened beverage taxes. Continue reading

Report: California teens drinking more sugary drinks

Oct. 18, 2013, HealthDay

Although younger children in California are drinking less soda and other sugary beverages, teens in the state are actually drinking more, according to a report released Oct. 17.

The research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) involved more than 40,000 households and revealed an 8 percent surge in sugary drink consumption among young people age 12 to 17. Particularly large increases were seen among black, Latino, and Asian teens.

“California has made real progress in reducing the consumption of sugary beverages among young children,” Dr. Susan Babey, of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said in a center news release. “But teens are in trouble. Soda or sports drinks should be an occasional treat, not a daily habit. If this trend isn’t reversed there may be costly consequences for teens, their families, and the health care system in the form of increased obesity and diabetes.” Continue reading

Mexico, with world’s top obesity rate, raises prices on soft drinks to fight it

Sept. 23, 2013, International Business Times

By Patricia Rey Mallén

It is a well-known fact that the United States is the country in the world with the largest obesity rate. But it isn’t anymore. A report by the United Nations revealed that the United States came in second to its southern neighbor, Mexico. The new data, published in July 2013, shows that 32.8 percent of Mexicans are overweight — a full percentage point over the number of Americans.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose administration has been going through an intense few months of political reforms, has begun taking measures to fight the trend. The first, taking a page from New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, has attacked sugary drinks, which have been blamed for the burgeoning rate of overweight citizens. Continue reading

Too many sugary drinks for kids

Aug. 26, 2013, dailyRx

Most kids love sugary beverages, but parents should be mindful of how much of these beverages their kids are drinking.

A recent review of studies found that drinking more sugar-sweetened drinks was linked to weight gain among children and adults.

The study authors noted that it is especially important to have overweight children reduce their consumption of sugary beverages.

This study was led by Vasanti Malik, Sc.D., from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Continue reading

Soda tax won’t curb obesity, study contends

Aug. 9, 2013, HealthDay

Taxing sodas and other sugary beverages won’t help reduce obesity because consumers would switch to other high-calorie foods and drinks that aren’t taxed, a new study contends.

The researchers came to their conclusion after analyzing data on household food purchases made by Americans in 2006. The findings were published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

“Instituting a sugary-beverage tax may be an appealing public-policy option to curb obesity, but it’s not as easy to use taxes to curb obesity as it is with smoking,” study lead author Chen Zhen, a research economist at RTI International, said in a journal news release. Continue reading

Soda size limits could aid fight against obesity, experts say

June 12, 2013, U.S. News & World Report

Restricting the sale of large sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages in restaurants and other food service outlets would affect 7.5 percent of Americans each day and have the greatest impact on overweight people, according to a new study.

In an effort to fight obesity, New York City’s Board of Health approved a ban on the sale of sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces at eateries, but the law was struck down by the New York Supreme Court in March. An appeal began this week.

In order to assess the effect that such a ban would have nationwide, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed the records of more than 19,000 people who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007-2010. Continue reading