New York City has announced plans to ban the sale of sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and entertainment venues. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) encourages consumers to be aware of how all beverages fit into their healthful daily eating plan.
“The Academy supports strategies designed to encourage people to make healthful food choices,” said registered dietitian and Academy President Sylvia Escott-Stump. “To date, most bans and taxations like the New York proposal are based on theoretical models. There is conflicting research on whether these programs actually result in behavior change that leads to positive health outcomes.”
Escott-Stump added: “As a science-based organization, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics believes there must be an evaluation component to these programs. We need to measure behavior changes across the population as a result of the program. Then, we can determine if the changes are long-term and whether they contribute to a reduction of chronic diseases like obesity and [type 2] diabetes.”
The Academy has convened a working group to examine the effectiveness of measures like proposed bans and taxes that are designed to influence consumers’ purchases and their potential impact on people’s health.
“Even after we have more science-based information about measures like New York’s, it is vital that we as registered dietitians educate consumers about the components of a healthful eating plan and help people make informed decisions that will positively affect their health,” Escott-Stump said.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumers to reduce their consumption of foods and beverages with added sugars and replace them with more healthful options like water, moderate servings of 100-percent fruit juice and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk alternatives.
“These are immediate steps we can take to improve the health of Americans,” said Escott-Stump.