UC Food Safety
University of California
UC Food Safety

Sugary drinks are hiding under a 'health halo'

UC Cooperative Extension nutrition educator Estela Cabral de Lara teaches a class about the drawbacks of heavily marketed beverages.
Manufacturers of soda alternatives - like Gatorade, Vitamin Water and Snapple teas - are promoting misleading claims to entice health conscious consumers to buy their products, according to a report released today by the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley.

Researchers investigated the growing and often confusing list of supplements added to the drinks. In most cases, they found, the beverages provide little or no health benefits, and might be dangerous.

"Despite the positive connotation surrounding energy and sports drinks, these products are essentially sodas without the carbonation," said Patricia Crawford, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at UC Berkeley.

The study looked at 21 popular drinks touted by manufacturers as "health and performance enhancing." In addition to sugar, caffeine, non-caloric sweeteners, sodium, vitamins and minerals, some drinks included the supplements guarana, ginseng, taurine, gingko biloba and ginger extract. Of the five herbal supplements, only ginger extract is classified as "likely safe" for children, Crawford said.

Because they contain caffeine, marketers promote the beverages as improving energy, concentration, endurance and performance. The study, however, documented harmful effects, such as increasing stress, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, tremors, hallucinations and seizures.

"(Drink manufacturers') health marketing claims are the 21st Century equivalent of selling snake oil," said Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which commissioned the study.

The full report is at http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/healthhalo.html.


Posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM


Having heard the atty. for the FDA speak to a huge conference in DC in Feb. 1986 telling us: FDA was preparing to take aspartame from the shelves because AT THAT TIME THEY KNEW IT CAUSED SEIZURES, BLINDNESS AND WAS A MULTI-POTENTIAL CARCINOGEN...only to NEVER have IT HAPPEN...I try to check out claims such as yours for corroboration....none do! It was NOT removed from anywhere...it was, however, shoved into everyday life as Donald Rumsfeld owned the company and was being groomed to be the Secty of Defence for new President, Ronald Reagen...and the rest is obvious!!! SO...I am one of the 3000 or so in that room who KNEW THE TRUTH which got flushed down the toilet and it became open-season on consumers around the globe!!! I became email pals with a wonderful woman who fights the Good Fight around the globe on this...Dr. Betty Martini (yes, it's for REAL!!). Look her up... I have no idea how UC handles this topic but...would like to know. I live in the burbs of OK, rural to be exact, and still do what I can to get The Word out. This message to you may be sent to The Round File, but am taking a chance someone might check it out if, in fact, it is NOT ALREADY KNOWN TO YOU!!! God bless us ALL!  
Cynthia Mueggenborg, Hulbert, OK

Posted by cynthia mueggenborg on August 8, 2014 at 10:47 AM

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