California lawmakers are debating a new stipulation that would require soda and other high sugar volume beverages to come with warning labels. The labels would warn consumers about the risk of obesity, tooth decay and diabetes from over consumption of the drinks. The bill found its way to floor in Sacramento today and is backed by most of the public health advocates in California.
This would be another first for the Golden State following their ban of sugar laced goodies and drinks from public school vending machines in 2005. California has made other efforts to reduce the public’s consumption of soda and other sugar based beverages by placing taxes on them and undergoing a huge public health campaign to educate its citizens on the dangers of drinking high sugar volume beverages.
The United States is currently in a health crisis as a staggering third of adults are considered obese and a 17 percent of adolescents between the age of 2 and 19 as well. It’s numbers like these that have driven California lawmakers to create a law that soda and other high sugar volume beverages come with warning labels. This is mainly blamed on things like high sugar volume beverages and cheap fast food with high calories. However, diet is only half of the obesity problem; the other half is proper exercise, which is also lacking due to a more sedentary lifestyle.
Although food can contain high amounts of sugar as well, those sugars are often bonded to other things like protein and fiber, so some good can come out it. With high sugar volume beverages this is very rarely the case which is why California lawmakers want to pass the bill placing the warning labels on beverages and not edibles. These beverages also carry little in the way of calories; the average soda has roughly 4 calories per serving.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has undertaken a huge campaign to raise public awareness of obesity and is advocating for a healthier America. In fact obesity is second only to cancer in the leading contributing factors of premature death. Obesity can cause a wide array of health issues including diabetes and heart disease. The CDC advocates that simple changes to one’s diet and at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can greatly reduce one’s chances of becoming obese and reducing one’s Body Mass Index (BMI.)
However, will warning labels actually reduce consumption or high sugar volume beverages or will it add a taboo cult following like with cigarettes. Cigarettes, another highly toxic killer, have similar warning labels but that does not prevent millions of people worldwide from lighting up a smoke. Will high sugar volume beverages go down the same road as cigarettes starting with warning labels then being banned from television advertisements? Will these beverages be restricted for purchase by people 18 and over? Only time will tell if this will happen or not, but, one thing is for certain high sugar intake is a huge problem that does need to be addressed.
California lawmakers will be voting on the bill to put warning labels on soda and other high sugar volume beverages on Thursday and, if it passes, it will be a huge win in the battle against obesity in America.
By Adam Stier