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Nutrition experts propose new class of low-sugar drinks to help stem obesity and diabetes epidemics
Date:4/20/2009

Boston, MA -- Strong evidence developed at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and elsewhere shows that sugary drinks are an important contributor to the epidemic rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States. Faced with these growing public health threats, experts from the Department of Nutrition at HSPH believe beverage manufacturers, government, schools, worksites and homes must take action to help Americans choose healthier drinks. They propose that manufacturers create a class of reduced-calorie beverages that have no more than 1 gram of sugar per ounceabout 70 percent less sugar than a typical soft drinkand that are free of non-caloric sweeteners. They also propose that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require beverage manufacturers to put calorie information for the entire bottlenot just for a single servingon the front of drink labels. The aim is to re-educate the American palate to a lower expectation of sweetness, as well as to give consumers clear information to help them make healthier choices.

"The scientific evidence is now clear; soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are important contributors to obesity in children and adults," said Walter Willett, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. "Healthier beverage options would allow individuals to make better choices."

**A media teleconference will be held today, Monday, April 20, from 3:00-4:00 PM ET. Walter Willett and Lilian Cheung, lecturer in the Department of Nutrition and editorial director of The Nutrition Source website will discuss the need to focus on healthier beverages. To register for the conference call, please RSVP to Todd Datz, tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu, 617-432-3952. Reporters who register to participate will receive the call-in information.

The Nutrition Source (http://www.thenutritionsource.org), a website maintained by the D
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-3952
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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