Washington, DC – Less than a year after the Los Angeles Unified School District board voted in favor of a district wide ban on soda sales, the California Senate has now jumped on the bandwagon, passing legislation to ban soft drinks from schools by 2005. Soda has become the target of food cops and
office-holders that seek a scapegoat for the rise in childhood obesity. Meanwhile no causal link between soda and obesity has ever been produced.

Senator Deborah Ortiz and proponents of soda bans often cite Harvard University “evidence” of links between soda consumption and obesity as well as calcium depletion.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a much different opinion on the Harvard research saying: “There are no data from the Harvard study that allow us to make an estimate of what proportion of obesity might be accounted for by changes in soft drink consumption.” The study’s author himself admitted, “there is no clear evidence that consumption of sugar per se … causes obesity.”

The porous “calcium depletion” myth also lives on, despite the fact that researcher Grace Wyshak never measured bone density and didn’t ask how much soda her subjects drank. In her own words: “causality cannot be inferred from the data.”

And these flimsy studies are the best evidence put forward by Senator Ortiz?