American Beverage Assn. commends study on front-of-package nutrition rating system for focusing on fact-based nutrition information, but says study's recommendation on 'added' versus 'total' sugars not based in science

WASHINGTON , October 21, 2011 (press release) – In response to the Institute of Medicine Committee on Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols Phase II Report, "Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Promoting Healthier Choices," the American Beverage Association, issued the following statement:

American Beverage Association Statement:

"We commend the Committee for focusing on fact-based nutrition information. We also agree that giving people more helpful information about nutrition and healthy eating is important, especially when it comes to calories and serving size. The beverage industry is already doing this with its Clear on Calories initiative, which places new calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack we produce."

Additional Background:

* Like many foods, sugar-sweetened beverages are a source of sugars. But when it comes to beverages, what matters most are calories - not that the source of those calories is from sugars.
* Added sugars are not chemically or metabolically different than naturally occurring sugars, as supported by a previous report from the Institute of Medicine.
* Thus, we are disappointed with the Committee's recommendation on "added sugars" versus "total sugars." While this recommendation may reflect the consensus reached around the globe by agencies such as the World Health Organization, we believe that it fails to be based in science.
* The beverage industry continues to respond to consumer demand by providing myriad beverage choices in a wide array of calorie ranges. In fact, from 1998 to 2008, the industry cut the total beverage calories it brought to market by 21 percent, through the innovation of more no- and low-calorie beverages and smaller-portion options.

The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.

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