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    The Chug Seen ‘Round The World

    gal_drink_fat_glass_ad_cokeEarlier this week, the New York City Department of Health launched this to-the-point video advertisement that clearly showcases the effects of soda consumption on body weight.

    While some people — dietitians and consumers alike — balked, describing the video as “disgusting” or “over the top”, I think it is both effective and accurate.

    This video does not blame soda for all of society’s evils, but it makes a most factual statement — an extra can of soda once a day, every day, over the course of a year adds ten pounds.

    Of course, this can be avoided if one drank that can of soda and then burned off an additional 150 calories, but recommending lower soda consumption is more realistic than daily physical activity.

    Some people ask, “Why is soda getting the short end of the stick?”.

    Easy!  The United States is the world’s number one consumer of soft drinks, to the tune of 150 quarts per year, per person.

    Let me put that figure into context for you — that’s 397 cans of soda per year, per person!

    Will it be an effective campaign?  Who knows.  At the very least, it has people talking.

    What are your thoughts?

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    11 Comments

    1. Kate said on December 16th, 2009

      Ugh, I just about gagged watching that video! So gross. But it’s got a good point. However, I’m not sure if it’s going to be effective. The dissuasive ads put on cigarette packages of diseased organs don’t seem to be doing a good job there, so it’s really debatable.

    2. gd said on December 16th, 2009

      i think its funny that they offer low fat milk as an alternative when (correct me if im wrong) 8oz of low fat milk is actually more calories than 8oz of pepsi / coke. i guess the NY dairy lobby got their way!

    3. Brandon said on December 16th, 2009

      I saw this yesterday. I like it.

    4. Andy Bellatti said on December 16th, 2009

      Gregory,

      Great question. The message behind the campaign is that soda is empty calories (and, for most people, who don’t get enough calcium in their diets, increases their risk of developing osteoporosis).

      Milk may have the same number of calories, but it adds nutrients to your day.

      That said, it is not simply dairy milk that is a smart beverage — alternative varieties like soy, almond, hemp, oat, and rice are also fine.

      Soda is mainly targeted because consumption is through the roof…

    5. dennise said on December 16th, 2009

      I loved the ad, but wondered about its targeted audience. Maybe they see an ad like this and say, “Wow…I’m cutting out soda!”;will they then (on their own) cut out the Dunkin Donuts light and sweet coffees they have 3-4 a day? Will they stop eating Taco Bell for a snack?

      I’m about small changes but if they lead to more small changes.

    6. Debbie said on December 16th, 2009

      That’s disgusting. Not just the video, but those consumption numbers.

      I know I’m probably the rare person that only has 1 can of soda a month. But an AVERAGE of close to 400 cans of soda per year??? So for all of us who drink little to none, there’s people out there making up the difference.

    7. gd said on December 17th, 2009

      andy, i understand that soda is empty calories and that milk has nutrients.
      but calories are calories!
      correct me if im wrong but if you simply replaced milk with soda and drank a 12oz glass of milk (as much as a can of soda) every day, you would also gain 10 pounds in a year (or more). (soy, rice, hemp and oat are all also around the same calories – +100 – for 12oz)

      i was just pointing out that i though it was strange that they included low fat milk alongside calorie-free beverages like water & seltzer as an alternative to soda. it seems to me that the NY dairy lobby had some sway with the NY Dept of Health on this ad campaign.

      i agree that overconsumption is the main problem. we need to eat/drink less of everything & that includes soda & all calories in general, but it always helps to get your calories from more nutritious foods.

    8. Andy Bellatti said on December 17th, 2009

      You are absolutely right — calories are calories.

      I also agree with you that it is strange (and probably, as you speculate, indicative of strong dairy lobby groups) that milk is alongside water and seltzer (why not unsweetened tea, right?).

    9. Brandon said on December 17th, 2009

      Well it’s like you said though, most people don’t get enough Calcium. Plus since it has protein is more likely to be filling [or at least more filling]. Milk & milk products do have their own food group.

    10. Jessie said on December 24th, 2009

      It’s true that calories are calories, but thats not what you should be focused on unless you are on a strict diet.

      Milk has far more nutrients which is what you should really be focused on, making milk the obvious choice.

    11. Andy Bellatti said on December 24th, 2009

      I think the confusion stems from the fact that the campaign is solely focusing on the caloric consequences of soda (rather than its inferior nutritional profile).

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