Counting Calories

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Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Sceery

Often times
when consumers think about counting calories or evaluating nutritious choices,
beverages are not the first thing that comes to mind. However, in a recent press
release
, the American Beverage
Association
announced that the new Clear
Calorie Initiative
could be found in stores across the nation. The
association announced that as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!”
campaign, beverage companies will now display calorie labels on the front of
non-alcoholic beverages (as opposed to the traditional label on the back).

Well- known
companies such as Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Honest Tea are all taking
part in the initiative to provide consumers the ability to make informed
nutritious choices easier. This new concept is a big step in moving toward
reducing obesity and helping consumers to make smarter decisions. By providing
easier access to information on beverage labels it may help consumers to
compare beverages and choose a healthier option that they may not have
otherwise. In addition, the press release also highlighted that not only would
calories be distributed on labels, but also present in vending machines and
fountain drinks. Interestingly, these two areas could have a major impact on
forcing people to make informed decisions. Typically when choosing drinks form
either a vending machine or fountain machine, caloric information may not be
known (or a concern for that matter). However, if the numbers are there and the
information is there…it sometimes makes choosing the unhealthy option a little
harder.

Although
this initiative appears to be a step in the right direction, it is also
important not to forget about other nutrition facts or ingredients of
beverages. Calories are certainly not the only factor in determining nutritious
choices; don’t forget to consider factors such as sugars, fat content, and
sodium.  

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