Chris Woodward   ( Friday, September 26, 2014


A commentator thinks Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper are making a smart business move by pledging to reduce the calorie count in their beverages.

America's three biggest soda makers announced this week they will be working over the next decade to reduce by 20 percent the calories that Americans get from beverages. To do that, they plan to aggressively market smaller-sized drinks while pushing diet brands and bottled water.

Soda companies have been blamed for fueling obesity rates with their sugary drinks, even though the CEO of Coca Cola has disputed claims that Coca-Cola and other soda brands are at fault for obesity in America.

Fast-forward to this week's announcement at the left-leaning Clinton Global Initiative, and some might think that soda companies are changing their thinking or merely trying to get critics off their back. 

Julie Gunlock at the Independent Women's Forum disagrees with either assumption.

"It's a really smart business move,” she tells OneNewsNow. “The major soda companies understand that soda sales – [and] this is something the soda companies seem to understand, even if [former New York City Mayor] Michael Bloomberg and most of the food nannies don't understand – but soda sales have been plummeting. What's increasing are [sales of] diet drinks and juices and waters."

That being said, Gunlock sees the move by Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper as more of an attempt to meet consumer demand.

Still, when it comes to diet and sugar-free beverages, not every consumer or group is sold on those products, due in part to ingredients like artificial sweeteners.  A post by Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. on the Mayo Clinic website says some types of diet soda are fortified with vitamins and minerals, but diet soda is not a health drink or a silver bullet for weight loss.

Gunlock believes diet soda can help someone trying to watch their calories, while still treating themselves to a soda. She also tells OneNewsNow that consumers would have to consume "truckloads" of sodas and other products containing artificial sweeteners before doing themselves any harm.