There is a campaign to denormalize soda consumption currently underway and it is being lead by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). In today’s Washington Post, CSPI’s “Liquid Candy” anti-soda report is cited as “proof” of the damage sugar in soda can do to children’s health. (Though it is debatable exactly how much “proof” can be obtained from a report that had to be retracted and recast days after its release due to poor science. – “Anti-Pop Crusade Loses Its Fizz,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/13/98)

Former CSPI board member Marion Nestle, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, says sugar, especially in soda, is a problem: “Because sugary foods often replace more healthful foods.”

So, if sugar is really the problem, one would expect CSPI to be supportive of sugar alternatives. Today, CSPI president Michael Jacobson condemned saccharin. CSPI continues to rail against every possible replacement for sugar in soda, including Stevia, Sunnette, and NutraSweet. So it’s really not about the sugar at all, it’s just that CSPI doesn’t want you to drink soda, regardless of how it’s sweetened.