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Should the Word ‘Diet’ Be Banned From Soda Labels?

April 9, 2015

What’s the real meaning of the word “diet”? And why do we call artificially flavored, zero-calorie carbonated water a “diet” product, anyway?

That’s what one consumer group, U.S. Right to Know, asked in two letters sent to the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday.

The letters strongly urged the federal agencies to ban the word “diet” from artificially sweetened sodas.

Why is this such a big problem? They contend that although diet sodas are marketed as the “healthy” choice, these sweet, carbonated drinks are actually making consumers sicker.

The letters claim marketing zero-calorie sodas as diet sodas “inherently and necessarily implies that the products…assist in weight loss.” U.S. Right to Know even goes a step further: The group also claimed “diet” label is false and misleading, a marketing tactic that violates the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are at the root of these claims. The complaint cited several scientific studies linking artificial sweeteners to weight gain in adults and children, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Low calorie soft drinks have plenty of fans. Diet Coke was the third most popular soft drink in 2014, according to Advertising Age. But consumers seem to losing interest in the drink. overall In 2013, soda sales dropped to 8.9 billion cases, the lowest level since 1995, according to Reuters.

At Thrive Market, you can find all of the healthy, wholesome products you love at wholesale prices—delivered directly to your door, anywhere in the continental United States.

Photo credit: Wolfman- K via Flickr

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Annalise Mantz

Annalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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