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'Obesity, diabetes, tooth decay': California mulls soda health warning

Photo: Joe 13/Flickr

California is considering a controversial law change that would mean soda cans carry labels warning that added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

State Senator Bill Monning introduced a bill last Thursday, where SB 1000 would see beverages with added sweeteners and 75 or more calories per 12oz carry the following label: 'STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.'

"When the science is this conclusive, the state of California has a responsibility to take steps to protect consumers," stated Senator Monning. "As with tobacco and alcohol warnings, this legislation will give Californians essential information they need to make healthier choices."

The label was developed by a national panel of nutrition and public health experts, one of whom, Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, is sponsoring the legislation.

"The science on the harmful impacts associated with drinking soda and other sugary drinks is clear and conclusive. An overwhelming body of research has unequivocally shown that sugary drinks are major contributors to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay," he said.

"These diseases cost California billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity every year. When any product causes this much harm, it is time to take action."

According to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy,sugary drinks are the biggest contributor of added calories in the American diet, responsible for 43% of the added calories in the American diet over the last 30 years. Drinking just one soda a day increases an adult's likelihood of being overweight by 27% and a child's by 55%.

The Center also says in a press release that research shows that a soda or two a day increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent.

Dr. Ashby Wolfe from the California Medical Association, said: "Americans drink more than 45 gallons of sugary beverages a year. These drinks have become a major part of the American diet, and we drink them without a second thought to the damage they do to our health. Consumers have a right to know about the unique health problems associated with soda and other sugary drinks."

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