Sometimes good advice comes from unexpected sources. The chief executive of the world’s biggest soft drink company served up some common sense during the InterBev 2008 conference yesterday: No one food or beverage causes obesity. Rather, it’s our lifestyle choices that can add extra pounds on the scale.

People need to understand that obesity is not about a beverage or a candy bar or a restaurant meal or a Play Station game or about working longer hours. It’s a systematic lifestyle issue that we must address individually and collectively as a society.

Of course, no food or beverage maker wants to be blamed for its customers’ love handles. But what if we told you soda companies weren’t the only one to come to this conclusion?
As international obesity experts such as Dr. Maurice Larocque have said, “much of the obesity epidemic worldwide has been caused by a more sedentary lifestyle.” And research has shown, time and again, that dieting alone isn’t the answer. In our report "Small Choices, Big Bodies," we show how scare campaigns focusing on single foods or ingredients don’t get to the root of what really causes weight gain. Most public-health activists do little to talk about personal responsibility and exercise, taking the oversimplified route by demonizing soda and sweets.
The food-only approach misinforms consumers about what they can do to shrink their waistlines. It advises people to cut out their favorite snacks and treats instead of allowing people to enjoy their meals responsibly – and move their bodies more to make up for it.
Calories-in versus calories-out. It really is that simple.