If you follow CrossFit on social media, you know we support SB 300, California’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act. And you also know that not everyone agrees with this position. Debate over the warning label tends to focus on whether sugar is toxic. The libertarian-minded also tend to wonder whether the state of California has the right to mandate a warning label on soda.
Yet few have discussed CrossFit’s strategy behind supporting the warning label: so that health organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have to stop taking soda money.
The immediate impact of SB 300 is obvious. It would require every sugar-sweetened beverage can, bottle, and vending machine to carry the following warning label:
STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.
This has the benefit of being true. Soda significantly increases the risk of diabetes, even at consumption levels that many would consider moderate, such as 1-2 cans a day. Dr. Kimber Stanhope’s research has shown that “humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels.” And sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet.
But why is this warning necessary? Shouldn’t everyone already know that soda increases their risk of diabetes? We can all agree that people should know this, but the better question is whether they do know it. And if they listen to the misleading messages spread by the food and beverage industry, they probably do not. Industry-funded studies are five times less likely to find a relationship between sugary beverages and weight gain.
And Californians are in dire need of clear and accurate information about sugary beverages. Consider the fact that California Representatives Nanette Barragan, Karen Bass, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Mark Takano wrote in a letter to the State Senate’s health committee:
“More than half of all adults in California have diabetes or prediabetes.”
The long-term impact of the warning label may also have a broader impact than informing California’s consumers, though. As CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman has explained, putting a label on the can will help us drive soda out of health and fitness.
When soda cans carry warning labels, it will become harder for anyone in health to explain why they take money from soda companies. How can you claim to work in health and fitness and at the same time take money from a company whose products carry warning labels? A warning label will thus exact a deservedly devastating impact on soda-funded organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine.
The soda and sugar industries have manipulated American health science and policy for at least 50 years, as we have often demonstrated on this blog. They have corrupted everything from NIH dental policy to our dietary guidelines, to even the CDC’s chronic disease prevention personnel. Now that we know Big Sugar and Big Soda dictated two generations worth of U.S. health policy, is it any wonder that 1.8 million Americans will die this year from preventable, lifestyle-related diseases?
The corruption must end. SB 300 will get us closer to that goal. To support CrossFit in this fight, please visit http://crushbigsoda.com/.