California Lawmakers Propose First-Ever Warning Labels For Sodas

Written by Sy Mukherjee

Proposed legislation in California would require sugary drink makers to put warning labels about potential health hazards on their products.

If the bill were to pass, sodas and juices with added sugar would contain a label reading, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

“When the science is this conclusive, the state of California has a responsibility to take steps to protect consumers,” said state Sen. Bill Monning (D), the bill’s sponsor, in a news conference. “As with tobacco and alcohol warnings, this legislation will give Californians vital information they need to make healthier choices.”

About one in ten Americans nationally and in California has diabetes and over 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Type-2 diabetes afflicts minorities, and especially Latinos, at a far higher rate than it does other Americans, and obesity-related illness makes up somewhere between 10 and 12 percent of all national health insurance spending, including 11 percent of Medicaid expenditures.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that people who derive 25 percent of their daily calories from sugar are twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to people who take in just seven percent of their calories from sugar.

California beverage companies were quick to criticize the legislation. “[O]nly four percent of calories in the average American diet are derived directly from soda,” argued CalBev, the Golden State affiliate of American Beverage Association, in a statement.

But several academic studies dispute that notion. In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) released two major reports on Americans’ soda consumption habits and the health hazards of soda, respectively.

The CDC found that one in four American high school students drinks at least one soda per day, and that 16 percent drink at least one sports drink with added sugar per day. According to the World Health Organization, drinking even one soda per day increases an adult’s chances of being obese by 27 percent and child’s chances of being obese by a staggering 55 percent.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

Credit: Thinkstock

104 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven25 days ago

thanks for the article.

Kevin Peng
Kevin Peng2 years ago

what about the natural juices? they all contain 10% or higher sugar naturally. we HAVE regulations that requires them to meet certain brix or sugar levels, while this is bill limits those sugar added beverages to only about 5.25% to have only 75 calories in 12 oz. If these beverages are bad for teeth and causes diabetes or obesity, what about those natural juices?

Kevin Peng
Kevin Peng2 years ago

what about the natural juices? they all contain 10% or higher sugar naturally. we HAVE regulations that requires them to meet certain brix or sugar levels, while this is bill limits those sugar added beverages to only about 5.25% to have only 75 calories in 12 oz. If these beverages are bad for teeth and causes diabetes or obesity, what about those natural juices?

Kevin Peng
Kevin Peng2 years ago

what about the natural juices? they all contain 10% or higher sugar naturally. we gave regulations that requires them to meet certain brix or sugar levels, while this is bill limits those sugar added beverages to only about 5.25% to have only 75 calories in 12 oz. If these beverages are bad for teeth and causes diabetes or obesity, what about those natural juices?

Kevin Peng
Kevin Peng2 years ago

what about the natural juices? they all contain 10% or higher sugar naturally. we gave regulations that requires them to meet certain brix or sugar levels, while this is bill limits those sugar added beverages to only about 5.25% to have only 75 calories in 12 oz. If these beverages are bad for teeth and causes diabetes or obesity, what about those natural juices?

Kevin Peng
Kevin Peng2 years ago

there won't be any much sugar or sweetness in a beverage with only 75 calories per 12 fl oz. A sugar only water solution would only be 5.25% to already have 75 calorie. Typical beverage or juices like orange is about 10 or higher. If this bill is passed it will promote the use of artificial sweeteners to give the right sweetness and this is probably going to lead into another warning.. soon our food labels will be meaningless.

what causes tooth decay is the acid from the beverage, as well as the acid from microbial fermentation of sugar in the mouth during inactivity or sleeping or from the lack of mouth hygiene.. etc. Not rinsing or brushing the teeth is the cause because sugar is not the only one that turns into acid when fermented. sugar is not any worse than simple carbs for people with diabetes.

what happens to fruit juices now? regulation require minimum brix or sugar.. and they are all way higher than the 5.25% limit imposed here or 75 calorie per 12 oz.

those senate committee have nothing to do but to come up with shallow bills.. wasting public money



Oleg Kobetz
Oleg Kobetz2 years ago

thank you

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

This is not needed. Everyone knows they are very unhealthy.

Michael A.
Michael A.2 years ago

Not needed at all.

Kyle N.
Kyle N.2 years ago

The only products needing a warning label is any product containing Sucralose(splenda).