In this column, Mike Jacobson, head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, describes the efforts of sugared-soda manufacturers to make their products sound healthy even though they are often a straight shot toward obesity.
How does a manufacturer do this? It sells pretty much the same sugar-laden product, but, for example, adds some vitamin E and gives the product a name like "Cherry Antioxidant." Here is an excerpt from Jacobson's piece:
Big Soda must know it has a public relations problem on its hands. With study after study making plainer the links between sugary-drink consumption and obesity, the industry is under siege. Reducing soda consumption is increasingly a priority of public health officials, and in the years ahead more and more cities will turn to caps on serving sizes (a la New York City's recent ordinance), taxes, and other strategies to drive down consumption. Perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall, soda companies are diversifying their product lines with reduced-calorie sodas, waters, and juice drinks. Another part of the plan: Make soda look like a health food by dressing it up with added vitamins or fiber.
Jacobson calls on the FDA to use its fortification rule to stop this practice. Jacobson says that the fortification rule is designed, in part, to prevent fortification of junk food with nutrients in an effort to make the junk food seem healthier than it is.