Washington, DC – Attention parents and teachers! The food police have added whole and two-percent milk to the list of “poor nutritional quality” beverages in their crosshairs, recommending that they be removed from American’s schools. This and other ridiculous assertions are contained in a report being circulated by the self-described “food police” at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The draft report, rumored to be released this month, bears the name of CSPI’s activist coalition, the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA). NANA is part of an anti-soda crusade which advocates taxing sodas and restricting their availability in order to eliminate fizzy drinks from the diets of both children and adults.
“Anyone who would suggest that milk is unhealthy for kids is out to lunch,” said Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom. “CSPI once boasted that it was ‘proud about finding something wrong with practically everything.’ Now it’s proven it.”
The report concludes that school districts and local, state and federal governments should banish beverages and snacks that CSPI claims are contributing to the nation’s obesity. But evidence linking childhood obesity to sodas and snacks is utterly lacking.
Suggesting a causal link between soda consumption and childhood obesity, the CSPI/NANA report relies solely on a flawed study by Harvard University researcher and “fat tax” advocate David Ludwig. Ludwig admitted in his own conclusion that, “there is no clear evidence that consumption of sugar per se … causes obesity.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention echoed Ludwig’s conclusion: “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.”
This is not the first time the anti-soda movement has relied on faulty science to make their case. In 1998 CSPI issued a report titled “Liquid Candy,” which claimed that some teenagers get up to 25 percent of their calories from soda. Just one week later, following massive media attention, CSPI admitted that it had overstated this figure by a whopping 100 percent. In fact, American boys drink less than half the amount of soft drinks initially claimed by CSPI. While CSPI quietly made a correction (after the media fracas died down), it still heavily promotes its “Liquid Candy” report.
“NANA should rename itself NANNY,” added Mr. Berman. “Nagging Americans with a finger-wagging ‘no no’ won’t shrink anyone’s waistline. This is just another attempt by CSPI’s Puritans to restrict foods they don’t like. And as usual, there’s no science in the public interest to back them up.”
The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.