Tisch Food Center Testimony on New York State Assembly Sugared Beverages Bill | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
TFC Banner

Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy

Skip to content Skip to content

Tisch Food Center Testimony on New York State Assembly Sugared Beverages Bill

The Tisch Food Center submitted written testimonial to the New York State Assembly regarding Bill 2320-A, which would require manufacturers to place warning labels on sugary beverages.

To Whom It May Concern:

The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education and Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University (Tisch Food Center) fully supports New York Assembly Bill 2320-A, requiring manufacturers to place warning labels on sugary beverages. The Tisch Food Center believes that the warning label can increase consumers’ ability to better make informed food and beverage choices. The warning message is based on sound scientific evidence and the resultant label is a strategy that is believed to have impact on reducing intake of added sugars from these beverages.

Over 1.3 million people in New York State have diabetes, and over 8.5 million adults are overweight and obese.1 In 2012, diabetes cost the state about $11.4 billion in health care expenses, and an additional $5.1 billion indirectly from lost productivity.2 Across the nation, of the projected $761 billion in national expenditures for hospital inpatient and medications, over one quarter (26%) is incurred by people with diabetes, of which $126 billion (16.6%) is the cost directly attributed to diabetes.2 With the current state of high obesity and diabetes prevalence, action needs to be taken with the broad outreach that public health policies can have.

There is a wealth of literature from peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals that demonstrates the contribution of sugary beverages to increased risk for obesity, diabetes and dental carries.3-8 Our bodies absorb liquid sugar faster, leading to a spike in blood sugar.9 This blood sugar spike rapidly increases insulin release, which long-term can lead to higher disease susceptibility.10 Sugary beverages also pass through our digestive system much faster, and so are also not as filling as other foods that have the same volume or the same amount of calories.11,12 Sugary beverages are also usually consumed in addition to food, and thus add to overall caloric intake.13

Opponents of warning labels have used various angles to label this public health recommendation as “misguided.” Among the tactics employed is to discredit the science and logic and attribute this public health effort as a political action without basis. This recommendation for warning labels not only is based on sound research as outlined above, but is also supported by a long list of physicians, nutritionists, public health experts, and various public health associations.14,15

The warning label does not demonize sugary beverages or any one product. Rather, it helps inform consumers that consumption of sugary beverages is one factor out of many that contributes to negative health outcomes, and a significant one to be considered. Having the label empowers consumers and provides them with additional information to better make lifestyle choices. Research has shown that warning labels are effective in decreasing the consumption of products with health risks, such as tobacco and alcohol.16 At the same time, the label is also inexpensive and does not remove beverage choices from consumers. The food and beverage industry has consistently advocated for nutrition education and outreach to better educate consumers to make informed choices as a solution to obesity and diabetes. The Tisch Food Center believes that the warning label is a good starting point to raise consumer awareness of the potential health risks of sugary beverage consumption.

The warning label is one of many different public health recommendations with the collective aim of decreasing obesity and diabetes rates. It is not the be-all and end-all policy to solve the obesity and diabetes crisis we face. However, half of Americans drink sugary beverages, while one out of five adolescents in New York drinks a sugary beverage daily, and so the implementation of a warning label could have a far-reaching impact. To ignore this option would be to lose an important opportunity towards the effort to tackle diet-relate diseases harming the health of New York’s citizens, communities and economy.

Sincerely,

Claire Uno, MLIS
Assistant Executive Director, Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy

 

References:

1. New York State Department of Health. BRFSS Brief Number 1304: Overweight and Obesity, New York State Adults, 2011. Retrieved from https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/brfss/reports/docs/1304_overweight_and_obesity.pdf

2. American Diabetes Association. (2013). Economic costs of diabetes in the US in 2012. Diabetes care, 36(4), 1033-1046.

3. Te Morenga, L., Mallard, S., & Mann, J. (2013). Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies. BMJ, 346, e7492.

4. Malik, V. S., Popkin, B. M., Bray, G. A., Després, J. P., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2010). Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes A meta-analysis. Diabetes care, 33(11), 2477-2483.

5. Yang, Q., Zhang, Z., Gregg, E. W., Flanders, W. D., Merritt, R., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA internal medicine, 174(4), 516-524.

6. Stanhope, K. L., Bremer, A. A., Medici, V., Nakajima, K., Ito, Y., Nakano, T., ... & Havel, P. J. (2011). Consumption of fructose and high fructose corn syrup increase postprandial triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein-B in young men and women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 96(10), E1596-E1605.

7. Maersk, M., Belza, A., Stødkilde-Jørgensen, H., Ringgaard, S., Chabanova, E., Thomsen, H., ... & Richelsen, B. (2012). Sucrose-sweetened beverages increase fat storage in the liver, muscle, and visceral fat depot: a 6-mo randomized intervention study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 95(2), 283-289.

8. Sohn, W., Burt, B. A., & Sowers, M. R. (2006). Carbonated soft drinks and dental caries in the primary dentition. Journal of dental research, 85(3), 262-266.

9. Janssens, J. P., Shapira, N., Debeuf, P., Michiels, L., Putman, R., Bruckers, L., ... & Molenberghs, G. (1999). Effects of soft drink and table beer consumption on insulin response in normal teenagers and carbohydrate drink in youngsters. European journal of cancer prevention, 8(4), 289-296.

10. Mayes, P. A. (1993). Intermediary metabolism of fructose. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 58(5), 754S-765S.

11. Pan, A., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Effects of carbohydrates on satiety: differences between liquid and solid food. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 14(4), 385-390.

12. Anderson, G. H., & Woodend, D. (2003). Consumption of sugars and the regulation of short-term satiety and food intake. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 78(4), 843S-849S.

13. Rolls, B. J., Kim, S., & Fedoroff, I. C. (1990). Effects of drinks sweetened with sucrose or aspartame on hunger, thirst and food intake in men. Physiology & behavior, 48(1), 19-26.

14. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Nation's Leading Public Health Researchers, Scientists Endorse California, New York Sugar Drink Warning Label Bills (2015). Retrieved from: http://cspinet.org/new/201504081.html

15. California Center for Public Health Advocacy. (2015). Support for SB203 Sugar-sweetened Beverage Safety Warning. Retrieved from: http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/resources/warninglabel/SB203_SupportList.pdf

16. Hammond, D., Fong, G. T., McNeill, A., Borland, R., & Cummings, K. M. (2006). Effectiveness of cigarette warning labels in informing smokers about the risks of smoking: findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Tobacco control, 15(suppl 3), iii19-iii25.

Published Monday, Apr. 20, 2015

Tisch Food Center Testimony on New York State Assembly Sugared Beverages Bill

To Whom It May Concern:

The Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education and Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University (Tisch Food Center) fully supports New York Assembly Bill 2320-A, requiring manufacturers to place warning labels on sugary beverages. The Tisch Food Center believes that the warning label can increase consumers’ ability to better make informed food and beverage choices. The warning message is based on sound scientific evidence and the resultant label is a strategy that is believed to have impact on reducing intake of added sugars from these beverages.

Over 1.3 million people in New York State have diabetes, and over 8.5 million adults are overweight and obese.1 In 2012, diabetes cost the state about $11.4 billion in health care expenses, and an additional $5.1 billion indirectly from lost productivity.2 Across the nation, of the projected $761 billion in national expenditures for hospital inpatient and medications, over one quarter (26%) is incurred by people with diabetes, of which $126 billion (16.6%) is the cost directly attributed to diabetes.2 With the current state of high obesity and diabetes prevalence, action needs to be taken with the broad outreach that public health policies can have.

There is a wealth of literature from peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals that demonstrates the contribution of sugary beverages to increased risk for obesity, diabetes and dental carries.3-8 Our bodies absorb liquid sugar faster, leading to a spike in blood sugar.9 This blood sugar spike rapidly increases insulin release, which long-term can lead to higher disease susceptibility.10 Sugary beverages also pass through our digestive system much faster, and so are also not as filling as other foods that have the same volume or the same amount of calories.11,12 Sugary beverages are also usually consumed in addition to food, and thus add to overall caloric intake.13

Opponents of warning labels have used various angles to label this public health recommendation as “misguided.” Among the tactics employed is to discredit the science and logic and attribute this public health effort as a political action without basis. This recommendation for warning labels not only is based on sound research as outlined above, but is also supported by a long list of physicians, nutritionists, public health experts, and various public health associations.14,15

The warning label does not demonize sugary beverages or any one product. Rather, it helps inform consumers that consumption of sugary beverages is one factor out of many that contributes to negative health outcomes, and a significant one to be considered. Having the label empowers consumers and provides them with additional information to better make lifestyle choices. Research has shown that warning labels are effective in decreasing the consumption of products with health risks, such as tobacco and alcohol.16 At the same time, the label is also inexpensive and does not remove beverage choices from consumers. The food and beverage industry has consistently advocated for nutrition education and outreach to better educate consumers to make informed choices as a solution to obesity and diabetes. The Tisch Food Center believes that the warning label is a good starting point to raise consumer awareness of the potential health risks of sugary beverage consumption.

The warning label is one of many different public health recommendations with the collective aim of decreasing obesity and diabetes rates. It is not the be-all and end-all policy to solve the obesity and diabetes crisis we face. However, half of Americans drink sugary beverages, while one out of five adolescents in New York drinks a sugary beverage daily, and so the implementation of a warning label could have a far-reaching impact. To ignore this option would be to lose an important opportunity towards the effort to tackle diet-relate diseases harming the health of New York’s citizens, communities and economy.

Sincerely,

Claire Uno, MLIS
Assistant Executive Director, Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy

 

References:

1. New York State Department of Health. BRFSS Brief Number 1304: Overweight and Obesity, New York State Adults, 2011. Retrieved from https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/brfss/reports/docs/1304_overweight_and_obesity.pdf

2. American Diabetes Association. (2013). Economic costs of diabetes in the US in 2012. Diabetes care, 36(4), 1033-1046.

3. Te Morenga, L., Mallard, S., & Mann, J. (2013). Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies. BMJ, 346, e7492.

4. Malik, V. S., Popkin, B. M., Bray, G. A., Després, J. P., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2010). Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes A meta-analysis. Diabetes care, 33(11), 2477-2483.

5. Yang, Q., Zhang, Z., Gregg, E. W., Flanders, W. D., Merritt, R., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA internal medicine, 174(4), 516-524.

6. Stanhope, K. L., Bremer, A. A., Medici, V., Nakajima, K., Ito, Y., Nakano, T., ... & Havel, P. J. (2011). Consumption of fructose and high fructose corn syrup increase postprandial triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein-B in young men and women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 96(10), E1596-E1605.

7. Maersk, M., Belza, A., Stødkilde-Jørgensen, H., Ringgaard, S., Chabanova, E., Thomsen, H., ... & Richelsen, B. (2012). Sucrose-sweetened beverages increase fat storage in the liver, muscle, and visceral fat depot: a 6-mo randomized intervention study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 95(2), 283-289.

8. Sohn, W., Burt, B. A., & Sowers, M. R. (2006). Carbonated soft drinks and dental caries in the primary dentition. Journal of dental research, 85(3), 262-266.

9. Janssens, J. P., Shapira, N., Debeuf, P., Michiels, L., Putman, R., Bruckers, L., ... & Molenberghs, G. (1999). Effects of soft drink and table beer consumption on insulin response in normal teenagers and carbohydrate drink in youngsters. European journal of cancer prevention, 8(4), 289-296.

10. Mayes, P. A. (1993). Intermediary metabolism of fructose. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 58(5), 754S-765S.

11. Pan, A., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Effects of carbohydrates on satiety: differences between liquid and solid food. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 14(4), 385-390.

12. Anderson, G. H., & Woodend, D. (2003). Consumption of sugars and the regulation of short-term satiety and food intake. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 78(4), 843S-849S.

13. Rolls, B. J., Kim, S., & Fedoroff, I. C. (1990). Effects of drinks sweetened with sucrose or aspartame on hunger, thirst and food intake in men. Physiology & behavior, 48(1), 19-26.

14. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Nation's Leading Public Health Researchers, Scientists Endorse California, New York Sugar Drink Warning Label Bills (2015). Retrieved from: http://cspinet.org/new/201504081.html

15. California Center for Public Health Advocacy. (2015). Support for SB203 Sugar-sweetened Beverage Safety Warning. Retrieved from: http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/resources/warninglabel/SB203_SupportList.pdf

16. Hammond, D., Fong, G. T., McNeill, A., Borland, R., & Cummings, K. M. (2006). Effectiveness of cigarette warning labels in informing smokers about the risks of smoking: findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Tobacco control, 15(suppl 3), iii19-iii25.

How This Gift Connects The Dots
 
Scholarships & Fellowships
 
Faculty & Programs
 
Campus & Technology
 
Financial Flexibility
 
Engage TC Alumni & Friends