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NEW YORK -- Soft drinks that are packed with sugar could get warning labels just like cigarettes and alcohol if an advocacy group gets its way, CBS News Online reported.
"Americans are drowning in soda pop -- teenagers, in particular,” said Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “The average teenage boy is consuming two cans of soda pop a day. The industry spends over $500 million each year promoting the sale of these worthless products. The U.S. government's dietary guidelines for Americans have urged people to consume less sweetened beverages. But the government doesn't do anything."
The CSPI petition to the FDA included the following claims:
• In 2004, the average American consumed 37 gallons -- or 59,000 calories -- of carbonated beverages.
• Though more adults are turning to diet drinks, teens are increasing their intake of sweetened soft drinks
• Soft drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and osteoporosis (bones don't develop as well because soft drinks are in lieu of calcium-rich milk).
• Six of the seven most popular soft drinks have caffeine, which is mildly addictive.
• The health impact of soft drinks is sufficiently detrimental for the FDA to require warning labels on the products.
Because the long-term consequences are very serious, the American Beverage Association has posted the following statement on its Web site as a response to Jacobson's idea:
"To ask the FDA for warning labels on soft drinks, or any food products that contain caloric sweeteners, patronizes consumers and lacks common sense. Where should such a food hit list stop? Even skim milk and thousands of other food products could potentially fit into a CSPI labeling scheme because of the sugars contained in these products."