Powerful billboards, inescapable advertisements, celebrity endorsements—the soda industry spends millions of dollars every year trying to get Americans to buy sugary drinks, even though it knows just how dangerous they are. That’s why we need warning labels! They wouldn’t tell consumers what they can and can’t drink, but they would arm them with research-proven facts—and force the beverage industry to be transparent about its products.
The truth is, our society’s obsession with soda has already taken a devastating toll on our health. In fact, a recent study from Tufts University found that sugary drinks are linked to 184,000 deaths a year from obesity-related causes like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Most people already know that these beverages aren’t the healthiest, but many don’t fully understand the horrific consequences for their bodies. That ignorance makes it easier for them to keep drinking when they’re thirsty and there’s an ice-cold soda within reach. If forced to read a warning every single time they picked up a can, however, they might start thinking differently.
I realize that soda packages already have nutrition facts on the label, but consumers need more context. What use is seeing that a drink has 39 grams of sugar if people don’t know their recommended daily limit? More detailed warnings are needed to open people’s eyes to the harm they are inflicting upon themselves.
The warnings would also deter parents from giving kids soda, which is especially important to combat our country’s high childhood obesity rates. Think about it: Would you be eager to hand your kid a bottle that clearly outlines how dangerous its contents are?
Convincing Americans to consume less soda might be a long battle, but warning labels are an important first step. It’s time to call out the soda industry on its role in one of the worst health epidemics of our time—and give consumers the information they need to make better decisions.