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Florida Beverage official responds to health column

July 8, 2015
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

A recent opinion column ("Think before you drink;" July 1), distorts the science of nutrition to wrongly suggest that sugar-sweetened beverages are a major contributor to obesity.

No single food, beverage or ingredient is a unique contributor to obesity or any other health conditions. To maintain a balanced diet, we must keep an eye on all calories we take in no matter the source.

Obesity rates have increased from 1999 to 2012. Are soft drinks the reason? No. At the same time that obesity rates went up, calories from added sugars in soda in the U.S. diet went down 39 percent. How is it that soft drinks are driving obesity when obesity went up as the calories we get from soft drinks went down?

Beverage companies back efforts to improve public health. We support campaigns in cities across America to address the challenge of obesity. America's leading beverage companies launched the Balance Calories Initiative with a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025.

We've put calorie information on all of our cans, bottles and packs, and are doing so on vending machines and fountains. This kind of fact-based information allows consumers to make their own choices for a balanced lifestyle. Beverages can certainly be part of that lifestyle.

Elizabeth Castro

Executive Director

Florida Beverage Association

Windermere, Florida



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