Soda consumption down; first time in 20 years

There was this story making the rounds today about the beverage recommendations of a batch of experts. A recommendation that Americans drink less soda is prominent among them. It turns out they were heavily financed by Unilever, (parent company of Lipton Tea) and though one of the researchers says they were not swayed by the contribution, there have been complaints from the American Beverage Association that the recommendations give short shrift to milk and show too much acceptance for alcohol. (The ABA, of course, represents the manufacturers of non-alcoholic beverages. It’s hilarious to watch the carefully indignant press releases fly sometimes.)

At any rate, the natural companion to this piece is an article in the Times with the news that soda sales fell last year for the first time in 20 years. They don’t say with figures where the shift is going, though I think most people could tell you much of it is bottled water.

That Times article mentions a study in Pediatrics that found a direct correlation between the consumption of soda and other sweetened beverages and weight gain in teenagers. They delivered cases of low-calorie drinks to the teens and the teens lost weight.

Cue the previously-mentioned American Beverage Association:

The American Beverage Association, the trade and lobbying group for the beverage industry, criticized the study, saying that the weight loss occurred only among a “small, select group” and that the teenagers lost weight because of the loss of calories, not the absence of sweetened soda.

Uh, the absence of sweetened soda was the absence of calories.

“It stands to reason that anyone could lose weight if calories from any certain food or beverage are removed and not replaced by other calories,” the association said in a statement.

Of course they would. It’s just really easy to remove a lot of calories by removing sweetened soda.

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