Sodas, colas and other sugary drinks have been an addiction among people for eons. Although sugary beverages are palatable and quench thirst in the sweetest way possible, they are loaded with calories and are known to have several negative effects on health. In fact, as per experts around the world, these drinks are one of the major drivers of several lifestyle and chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, kidney-related troubles et al. Hence, several initiatives are taken world-wide to aware people of the effects of these drinks. In one such initiative, a new study has found that a warning label on the bottles may help reduce consumption of sugar drinks. The findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Conducted by the University of Michigan School of Public Health and UC Davis, this study takes a cue from their earlier initiatives to control tobacco consumption. According to the report, the researchers placed warning labels on beverage dispensers at a University of Michigan cafeteria for one semester in the year 2019. The label read, "Warning: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay." The consumption of sugary beverages in this cafeteria was compared to two other cafes in the campus, which had no warning labels and was located at a distance from the former.
A total of 840 students across all the cafeterias were surveyed for the research. It was found that there was an 18.5% decline in consumption of sweetened drinks that had warning label, as compared to the ones without any label. The latter saw only a 4.7% decline.
"Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major driver of chronic disease. Health warning labels may reduce the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, but the effectiveness of such labels in real-world settings is only beginning to be established," explained Jennifer Falbe, assistant professor of Nutrition and Human Development at University of California, Davis, who is a senior author of the study and designed the warning label used.