Don't worry Coca-Cola drinkers, the soda is not to blame for the current obesity epidemic in America. The stance comes straight from Coca-Cola's CEO Muhtar Kent in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Soda and sugary drinks have been in the spotlight more than usual of late due to the plans to ban oversized sugary drinks in New York City by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The proposed ban would prevent the sale of sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces in theaters, stadiums, restaurants and other stores. Diet sodas, drinks with more than 70 percent fruit or vegetable juice, unsweetened coffees and teas will not be subject to the ban.
With the number of obese Americans increasing, there needs to be greater action in promoting healthy diets and educational efforts to raise awareness of the effects of a poor diet on one's health. Coca-Cola's CEO Kent takes the stance that there is more to the obesity epidemic than just soda or sugary beverages. Kent cites how Coca-Cola has increased the number of beverage options, including healthier products such as teas, juices and sports drinks. In comments to WSJ, Kent says around 800 Coca-Cola products are zero calorie or low-calorie options for health-conscious consumers.
The focus shouldn't be on just a singular product according to Kent. Smoking, poor diet habits, lack of exercise are just a few compounding factors in the obesity epidemic. The rise in obesity affects other health concerns such as diabetes, heart attack and cardiovascular disease and also increases healthcare costs.
Not everyone is on board with the proposed soda ban. Some experts have the called the proposed ban excessive with Mayor Bloomberg acting like a nanny telling Americans what is best for them rather than letting Americans choose. The debate will continue and the proposed ban may face legal challenges as well.
Instead of a ban on an item, raising awareness is crucial according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Understanding how many calories is in soda or other sugary drinks, how much sugar may be consumed per eight ounce serving is necessary in order to change diet behavior. Taking into account calories and sugar in what you drink and what you eat will help Americans make better and healthier choices.