Soda Industry to Cut Calories - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Soda Industry to Cut Calories

(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

 SALISBURY, Md. (WBOC) - Whether it's in a can or in a bottle, soda as we know it might be fizzling out.

The United States soda industry announced Tuesday its commitment to cut the amount of calories Americans consume from beverages by 20 percent over the coming decade.

The American Beverage Association and Alliance for a Healthier Generation along with soda giants like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper will promote smaller portions of soda as well as zero and low-calorie options. Calories will soon be listed on vending machines, soda fountains and coolers in retail stores.

Ray St. Clair of Felton was spending the afternoon at the park with his granddaughter. He said his family already takes steps to cut back on the sugary stuff.

"I do occasionally drink sodas but I have been cutting back because of the calories and all that. We really don't let our kids have sodas at all until they're much older, just because of what's in it," said St. Clair.

He said he doesn't see how cutting back on portion sizes will make that much of a difference. "I guess making the cans smaller, I don't understand that because you're just going to drink two cans of soda instead of one," said St. Clair.

Sherri Stubbs from the Harrington Senior Center was enjoying a picnic at the Zoo. On the table was iced tea and lemonade, but no soda.

"I like to drink diet Pepsi every once in a while. That's what I used to drink all the time but with the bad report of the aspartame stuff, I didn't like drinking it," said Stubbs.

Sherri said she's looking forward to a change, "If they take out more sugar that would be great because I like to drink a soda every once in a while."

Melinda Brett, the owner of "Reconnections" in Salisbury is a licensed clinical professional counselor and registered dietician. She has been practicing for 30 years and said when it comes to soda, she's seen it all.

"Sodas have always kind of been the evil of the beast," said Brett.

Brett said the push to change the soda industry has been done before.

"It feels to me like it's kind of hollow. People are very driven by habit, very driven by cost and more importantly, they're driven by free will and they want what they want and they're going to do it how they want. I think sometimes when they make this effort to try to control and manipulate people's choices it actually backfires," said Brett.

In New York City, beverage makers narrowly escaped an attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks and in Illinois a proposed soda tax failed.

"We all have within us this kind of rebel soul piece that is just not going to be told what to do. So present these messages that you shouldn't do this and you shouldn't do that and it just kind of explodes and we watch people do the exact opposite," said Brett.

According to market research firm Euromonitor, Americans drank more than a can of soda per day last year on average.

The soda industry's leading brands say they plan to promote bottled water and lower calorie drinks instead.

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