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Major soda companies add calorie counts to their vending machines
10.11.2012On the heels of the announcement from national fast food chain McDonald's that it would post calorie counts next to food items on its menus, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have announced that they will also apply calorie information to their vending machines across the nation.
According to some research into the effects of sugary beverages, this could be a bigger eye-opener for consumers than getting a clear look at the calories contained in McDonald's fast food. CNN reported on a study that showed that two 20-ounce servings of soda per day, which amounts to 25 percent of the recommended daily calorie intake for women, raised the low-density, or "bad," cholesterol of the study subjects after several weeks. Unhealthy cholesterol levels may lead to heart attacks, which require immediate care from emergency department physicians for the possibility of survival.
A release from the American Beverage Association (ABA) states that it will start posting the amount of calories of the drinks in its machines at government buildings in Chicago and San Antonio, Texas, starting in 2013. After that, the organization reported that it will begin implementing the program to the rest of it's drink dispensers in the U.S.
"These vending machines will allow Chicago's workers to make healthy choices and good decisions, in keeping with their individual wellness goals," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, upon the announcement that Chicago municipal buildings would be among the first to receive vending machines with calorie information. "I am pleased that Chicago is one of the first cities in the country to offer these machines."
Calorie counts are good for publicity, but long-term health benefits unknown
Bloomberg reports that more than 30 states have introduced legislation to increase taxes on sugary drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi to discourage people from drinking them. Meanwhile, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg recently teamed up with the city's board of health to ban large-size sodas from sale from restaurants, cafeterias and concession stands throughout the city.
Thomas Mullarkey, a representative from an investment research group, Morningstar Inc., told the news source that placing calorie counts on fast food menus and soda machines informs the public and satisfies government regulators. Meanwhile, it also gives the companies the appearance of genuinely wanting their customers to lead healthier lifestyles.
ThinkProgress.org notes that sales of drinks containing high amounts of sugar have been declining in recent years, and reports that this may be due to the public becoming more aware of the negative effects of consuming too much sugar.
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