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Interesting piece in the New York Times about how "soft drink companies and their lobbying group, the American Beverage Association, spent $38 million to defeat election-season proposals to impose taxes on sugary drinks in four cities: San Francisco, Oakland and Albany in California, and Boulder, Colo. The companies lost all of those fights. Now, seven cities around the country have a soda tax."

The Times goes on to write that "one way the companies have tried to get ahead of the tax efforts is by vowing to reduce the calories in their products. In September 2014, they committed to reducing calories 20 percent nationwide by 2025 and focus on 10 communities where rates of obesity, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes are among the highest."

However, new research - that was commissioned and paid for by the beverage trade group - indicates that there is a long way to go before they meet that calorie reduction goal.

The Times reports: "The average American consumed an estimated 199 calories a day from beverages in 2014, when beverage companies made their pledge, and that fell to 198.7 calories a day the next year, according to research by Keybridge Public Policy Economics, an independent firm paid by the beverage association to conduct the study.

"That is a decline of less than 1 percent, far off the pace need to reach a 20 percent drop over a decade. To achieve their 2025 goal, the companies must reduce calories to 159.2 calories per person per day."

That said, the efforts are continuing. "The companies are offering several alternatives to traditional soda, and have retooled older products to reduce calories," the Times writes. "This has often been done quietly, with subtle changes to the drinks."
KC's View:
At the end of the day, if I as a consumer want to consume fewer sugary drinks, it is up to me to drink fewer sugary drinks. I have no big problem if cities, as a matter of public policy, try to educate people about the health impact of too many such drinks, as long as they understand the limits of such legislating. I think it is smart for companies to get ahead of the game by diversifying in smart ways. But in the end, I drink what I decide to drink. It is up to me.