ABA tries to discredit negative sugary drink research

  • Posted on: Mar 18 2012

In a move from their usual playbook, the American Beverage Association (ABA) is trying to discredit negative sugary drink research.

A new study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, found that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was associated with a higher risk for heart disease in men.

The researchers looked at over 40,000 men from the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, and what they found is all the more reason to Kick the Can.

Those men who drank the most sugary drinks had a 20% higher risk of heart disease than those who drank none.  This relationship remained even when the researchers factored in diet, physical activity, smoking, and a whole host of other items that could affect a person's risk for heart disease.

In a statement on their website, the ABA fired back, saying:

"Drinking sweetened beverages does not cause an increased risk of heart disease - not based on this study or any other study in the available science. The authors found an association between consuming sweetened beverages and cardiovascular risk, but this could have been the result of other lifestyle changes over the 22-year study period involving men 40 to 75 years of age."

The ABA goes on to say, among other things, that "Heart disease is a complex problem with no single cause and no simple solution."

Sound familiar? This is exactly what the beverage industry says about obesity.

The beverage industry says the science about sugary drinks and obesity isn't clear. But we know that the science is rock solid. The studies that don't support the connection are usually funded by the beverage industry.

The beverage industry says that decreasing sugary drink consumption won't solve the obesity epidemic. We know that no single initiative will solve obesity. But decreasing sugary drink consumption is a good place to start!

This current attempt by the ABA to discredit scientific evidence is not new. Soda companies are sensitive to criticism. They work hard to keep a positive image of themselves in the minds of the public, to sell products, and in the minds of lawmakers, to maintain a favorable policy environment.

Go to our beverage industry tactics page to learn more of the industry's playbook.