#CrushBigSoda: Why CrossFit Supports Soda Warning Labels

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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/.

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  1. I posted an ad from the food industry showing their eagerness to reduce added sugar. on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/richard.feinman.7 with a “sprouted whole wheat powder. I said that It suggests that
    1. Big food follows science and consumers, not the other way around.
    2. The emphasis on ‘sugar’ rather ‘carbohydrates’ will encourage nutritionists to recommend and food companies to follow a pattern of reducing sugar but keeping high total carbohydrate which will have questionable or at least unknown effects.

    Other reasons for restraint is that we don’t really have the science — we don’t have anything remotely resembling the kinds of association we have with cigarettes and lung cancer, or alcoholism and liver disease. If you give up on science you are in the world of alternative facts where anything goes.

    • Russ Greene

      “Big food follows science and consumers, not the other way around.”

      Did you see the evidence I linked to above showing how Big food leads “science” where it wants to go? That would seem to suggest otherwise.

      • Like Gary Taubes, you are making a case for the prosecution and encouraging people to act on it.. You may prevail but, like the low-fat campaign, there is no defense, no judge and no jury. I was suggesting that, whatever happened in the past, the food industry is following your opinion. And, you’re sure that it will turn out as you think. I hope you’re right.

      • Russ Greene

        Gary focuses on the toxicity of sugar. I focus on the manipulation of science and policy by the purveyors of sugary foods and beverages. I can make this case entirely using the industry’s own words and documents, if you prefer.

        It is absurd to assert that the industry is helpless to defend itself when, as we’ve seen, it has exerted influence over much of academia, the entire federal government chronic disease “prevention” apparatus, and the media. Just as an example, the Department of Health and Human Services has barred me from commenting publicly, in the “Public Comments” section, on the National Physical Activity Guidelines. They did this after I exposed the rampant conflicts of interest present amongst their agencies and committees. It’s unfortunate for them that I have other means of expressing myself, however. More abhorrent is what happened to Gary Fettke and Tim Noakes, about which you’re certainly aware.

        Lastly, I’m not “sure” of the future. This article is about strategy, an art predicated on inherent uncertainty.

  2. When started practicing medicine (when God was a baby) physicians could smoke in the hospital and they sometimes used physicians to endorse certain brands of cigarettes. In 1964 the first Surgeon General’s report on the dangers of cigarettes was published and this made headlines around the world. A few years later they put warning labels on all cigarette packages. Even with this aggressive attack on cigarettes it still took decades to push smoking out of public places. It is now estimated that sugar contributes to world wide deaths more than cigarettes do. So we need to start with knowledge and labels and move on from there.

  3. Kyla Hayden

    My son saw a Coke commercial and said “Look at the liars. People that drink soda don’t look like that. They should show people that actually drink soda.” LOL

  4. Pingback: PubMed Begins Flagging Conflicted Research: Coke Science Now Searchable | THE RUSSELLS

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