The Hits Just Keep Coming
> 3/10/2006 9:12:03 AM

For the first time in 20 years the U.S. saw a dropoff in the sale of soda.  This should come as little surprise though, as nutrition and health experts have made soda public enemy #1 in the battle against obesity.  In a recent CNN report, many scientists even called for surgeon general warnings to be placed on soda similar to the ones that have been added to cigarette packaging.

"Caloric imbalance causes obesity, so in the sense that any one part of the diet is contributing excess calories, it's contributing causally to the obesity," the American Cancer Society's Dr. Michael Thun said. "It doesn't mean that something is the only cause. It means that in the absence of that factor there would be less of that condition."

Does it merit a warning on soda cans?

"I think it would be a good candidate for a warning," Thun said. "It's something that should be seriously considered."

I get the sense, in reading the New York Times' write up of soda's recent down turn, that celebration might be a bit premature at this point.   While consumers, it would appear, are getting the message about soda, their purchasing habits indicate that they aren't exactly replacing the unpurchased soda with healthier alternatives.

Drinks such as water and teas have seen big gains, but so have energy drinks like Red Bull and Full Throttle. 
While bottled water is an indisputably healthy beverage choice, the same cannot be said of the thriving energy drink category, which has as many calories and sugar grams as soda, and an extra dose of caffeine.

Soda companies will need to react to these shifting demands, and hopefully that will mean healthier products.  Consumers however, must continue to demand these healthy options not only with their purchase decisions, but also by responding directly to companies like Coca Cola and PepsiCo regarding their products.

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