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Warning labels proposed for sodas in California

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Sodas and other beverages heavy on sugar will carry health warning labels if a state legislator and health professionals get their way.

Under legislation introduced on Thursday by state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Los Angeles, the labels would include warnings that the drinks lead to tooth decay, diabetes and obesity.

"Americans drink more than 45 gallons of sugary beverages a year." according to a spokesperson for the California Medical Association quoted in Monning's announcement. "These drinks have become a major part of the American diet and we drink them without a second thought to the damage they do to our health. Consumers have a right to know about the unique health problems associated with soda and other sugary drinks.”

According to Monning's office, one soda per day increases adults' likelihood of becoming overweight by 27 percent and a child’s by 55 percent.

Additional research shows that a soda or two a day increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent, according to Monning.

The bill is opposed by the American Beverage Association.

"While beverages and food play a role in determining good health, so do other important factors," the trade group said. "In fact, it is generally accepted that obesity involves three main factors: genetics, diet and exercise.

"We know that obesity is a serious and complex problem that is best addressed by living a balanced lifestyle – consuming a variety of foods and beverages in moderation and getting plenty of exercise. Quite simply, overweight and obesity are a result of an imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned."

The group also refuses to take the blame for tooth decay.

"Science tells us that individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s behavior, lifestyle, diet and genetic make-up," the group said. "In fact, there are multiple causes of dental cavities and erosion and many protective factors that can help prevent or minimize them."

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