Should Baltimore Warn Consumers About Sugary Drinks?

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Photo via @LukeARollins
Photo via @LukeARollins

Various political big wigs in Baltimore have made it their mission to put warning labels on sugary drinks, advising potential purchasers about the damaging health effects of such beverages. Doing so would put Baltimore on the cutting edge of the new anti-sugar activist movement.

Those in favor of the warning argue that such drinks are, well, really bad for you–particularly if you’re a kid. In a city where health disparities and obesity are a major issue, an informative label seems like a very small step in the right direction, and much less intrusive than the ban on sugar soda that Howard County had in place for a little while. Although plenty of people still smoke despite the warning labels on cigarette packets, experts say that even a subtle message can help nudge people to make healthier choices.

Currently, there’s a pending bill working its way through the city council that would require advertisers and stores to include the statement “Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes. This message is from the Baltimore City Health Department.” (Opponents argue that such a law would put an undue burden on stores, and that the warning blames the complex problem of obesity on a single culprit.)

If you’ve got thoughts on the issue that you’d like to share, you’ll want to attend tonight’s meeting hosted by the Baltimore City Health Department. It starts at 5:30 PM at the Southern Baptist Church (1701 North Chester Street). The event is entitled “The Sweet Truth: Sugary Drinks, Community Health, and Social Justice” and features Baltimore’s new dynamic health commissioner Leana Wen, along with former NFL player Aaron Maybin and a host of other experts.



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3 COMMENTS

  1. It would be just nice if the soda bottles were labeled in teaspoons of sugar.

    Grams means nothing except I know that 4 grams is 1 teaspoon. A 20 oz bottle of Fanta Orange Soda has 17 teaspoons of sugar! A kid’s daily sugar intake is only 4-5 teaspoons. Dear God-maybe these warnings are useful?

  2. Warning labels that suggest beverages are a unique driver of complex conditions such as diabetes and obesity are both inaccurate and unproductive. It’s also important to note that even the researchers of the study cited here acknowledge that people could simply buy other foods with sugar that are unlabeled. Bottom line: consumers want factual information to help make informed choices that are right for them, and America’s beverage companies already provide clear calorie labels on the front of our products.

  3. This is information that parents should be telling their children. Don’t drink that crap!
    The city has enough fish to fry.

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