WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA 9)--The FDA is being urged by the Center for Science in the Public Interest to determine safer limits on high fructose corn syrup and other sugars in soft drinks.
CSPI filed a 54 page regulatory petition today, which detailed,"substantial scientific evidence that added sugars, especially in drinks, causes weight gain, obesity, and chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and gout."
The consumer advocacy organization points out that a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda containing about 16 teaspoons of sugars from high-fructose corn syrup, that's twice the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association.
Walter Willett, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health says, "The evidence is so strong that it is essential the FDA uses it's authority." Willet and his colleagues, who also signed the petition, have completed their own studies illustrating a connection between these sugary drinks and major health problems, such as diabetes and obesity.
However, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom, is adamant that this complaint is not only "absurdly misguided" but also discounts other major research, such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which published a recent study that finds Americans have actually cut down on their sugar intake. And further research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that obesity is actually leveling out.
Justin Wilson, the Center for Consumer Freedom's Senior Research Analyst says, "We think consumers should be able to choose for themselves. We're losing track of what personal responsibility means." The overstepping of consumer boundaries is a primary concern for CCF.
While high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose and other sugars have been "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA, CSPI argues that this new scientific evidence should push the FDA to act.
But whether or not this "new scientific evidence" is legitimate is debatable, according to Wilson. "Comparing sugar to anthrax is like comparing a credible scientist to the Center for Science in the Public Interest," he said.
This is not the first time CSPI has fought for major changes in soda consumption. In 2006, the organization threatened to sue soft-drink companies for their misleading advertisements, forcing soft-drink companies to remove high-calorie soft drinks from schools.