Michelle Obama rolled out a new campaign called “Drink Up.” There have been many good pieces written about why a campaign to drink more water is not enough.
It reminded me of an interview I’d heard on the radio a few years back. The words from a representative of the American Beverage Association make the case for why the campaign should encourage less soda and not just more water:
Dr. MAUREEN STOREY (Senior Vice President, Science Policy, American Beverage Association): Soda is comprised mostly of water. A full-calorie soft drink has 90 percent water, and a diet soft drink is 99 percent water. Water is the most important nutrient that we have…
NORRIS: Let’s move down, though. If you’re looking at that label on the back of a soda, what else is in there that is of nutritional value?
Dr. STOREY: Of nutritional value, there is either high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose, and that does provide energy or carbohydrates. And if we are active and need a refreshing beverage after a nice, long walk or a run, you can have a beverage and quench your thirst and stay hydrated.
NORRIS: Is it advisable after a nice, long run, or after going out and exercising – which you’ve been advocating – to reach for a beverage that has 22 grams of sugar or 34 grams of sugar? Is that nutritionally sound?
Ms. STOREY: Well, I don’t think it’s nutritionally unsound. There are some studies that show that particularly with children, children who have been exercising may not drink enough water to get back to the hydration point that they need to be at. So with a little bit of flavoring and a little bit of sweetness, they will drink enough, then, to get back to where they need to be.
Staying hydrated is not the issue. We need to reduce children’s consumption of soda. Saying “Drink Up” with no mention of the harmful effects of soda is too subtle and plays into the hands of the soda companies.