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JACK ANDERSEN/PHOTOLIBRARY RM/GETTY IMAGES (SODA); SHUTTERSTOCK (SKULL AND CROSSBONES)

YOUR
FAVORITE
DRINKS
CAN WRECK
YOUR BODY

ugary drinks dont just


rot our teeth: They can
lead to serious diseases.
Is it time to put warning
labels on them? Two writers
face off on the debate.

SCOPE.SCHOLASTIC.COM SEPTEMBER 2014

17

put warning labels on soda and

telling Americans that

other sugary drinks. The California

the fat in our food was

Senate recently passed a bill

making us fat. So we

designed to do just that, and it may

started eating more

soon become a law.

low-fat foods.
But food without

Lets hope it doesand that

Drinking this
beverage may cause:
Headache
Gas
Mood swings
Tiredness
Obesity
Heart attack
Diabetes

YES!

Why?

cardboardunless

Because you deserve to

you sweeten it. So

know when youre about to put

sweeten it we did. Now

something in your body that can

sugar seems to be in

make you sickor worse.

everything.

your liver. (Fructose is a sweet type

The answer is no.

of sugar that occurs naturally in

Sugary drinks are

fruit and honey. It is found in most

want. In fact, brain

for kids depends on

alcoholics after years of drinking.

scans reveal that eating

factors such as their

turned out to be a bad idea: to

sugar affects the same

age and height, but

grow sugarcane as a crop. The

parts of the brain as

the American Heart

You know who doesnt want

addictive drugs. Some

Association puts it

warning labels on sugary drinks?

research shows that

somewhere between

The beverage corporations that

myth, a stalk of sugarcane was the


mother of the human race.
Humans have been in love with
sugar for centuries, but it was only

the average American consumed

have found its way into

your liver into a grotesque lump of

about six teaspoons of sugar per

scar tissue. Eating too much of it

day. Today, the average American

these words, it is right next to you,

can lead to obesity and put you at

eats more than 22 teaspoons of

waiting for the chance to strike.

risk for heart disease, diabetes, and

sugar a day. Thats 77 pounds per

so many other health problems

yeara mind-boggling amount.

SCHOLASTIC SCOPE SEPTEMBER 2014

eat every day?

people of New Guinea had what

your house. Perhaps, as you read

18

a truckload of fructose straight to

about 10,000 years ago when the

Well, it can rot your teeth and turn

other sweet drinks is that they

many of the foods we

liver. The same thing happens to

and restaurants. It may

The problem with soda and

down a bottle of soda, you send

how much sugar is OK

it in crazy amounts. In the 1800s,

the stuff poison.

sugar is added to so

you eat, the more you

Our devotion to sugar began

sugar. Whats so bad about sugar?

sugar affects the human body, calls

sugar in solid food. When you chug

fat, which can build up in your

It lurks in grocery stores

Sugar Kills

liquids more quickly than the

drinks like soda when

Americans. Exactly

recently that we began consuming

pediatrician and expert on how

single out sugary

is addictive. The more

Unfortunately, sugar

Crazy for Sugar!

contain an enormous amount of

It is a can of soda.

The body absorbs the sugar in

Some of that fructose turns into

of their religion. According to one

up the page. Dr. Robert Lustig, a

Isnt it unfair to

and high fructose corn syrup.)

so much that sugar became a part

poisonous snake, or a mutant bee.

of sugar is particularly terrible.

in the diets of young

they liked it. In fact, they liked it

that to list them all here would fill

But wait.

source of added sugar

here is a killer on the loose.

This killer is not a flesh-eating

in any form is bad, drinking a lot

sweeteners, including white sugar

raw plant, and, not surprisingly,

zombie. It is not a deadly parasite, a

Fruit has a lot


of sugar. Fruit
juice has a lot of
sugar. Whats the
difference? Fruit
has fiber that
allows sugar to be
absorbed slowly.
Juice has no fiber.
Drinking juice is
like a sugar shot
right to your guts!

The Worst

by far the biggest

ancient New Guineans chewed the

Putting warning labels on sugary drinks


would save lives BY RUSS LLOYD

fat tends to taste like

other states follow Californias lead.

The More You Eat


Why are we eating so much
sugar?
One reason is that about 40

Its not surprising, then, that

years ago, a bunch of scientists

some people in California want to

and government officials began

PAGE 18: EMRAH TURUDU/E+/GETTY IMAGES (CAN); SHUTTERSTOCK (SKULL AND CROSSBONES). PAGE 19: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM (ALL PHOTOS)

WARNING!

APPLE?
OR APPLE
JUICE?

sugar is even more addictive than

Warning Labels Work

four and nine teaspoons for the

cocaine! (If youve ever lifted your

spend hundreds of millions of

entire day.

dollars trying to get you to buy

cereal bowl to slurp down that last

A single 12-ounce can of soda

their drinks. The fact that these

bit of sugary milk, you can see how

contains a whopping 8 teaspoons!

companies are against warning

this could be true.)

While consuming a lot of sugar

labels is as good a sign as any that


labels will work.
But in case we need
more evidence, theres
also this: Anti-smoking

67

85

OF EIGHTH
GRADERS
HAVE
ACCESS TO
SUGARY
DRINKS AT
SCHOOL

ONE
12-OUNCE

SODA

A DAY

CAN INCREASE
YOUR RISK OF A
HEART ATTACK BY
SOURCES: JAMA PEDIATRICS STUDY AND
THE CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR PUBLIC HEALTH

measures, including

30%

OF MIDDLE
SCHOOLERS
HAVE A
SUGARY
DRINK AT
LEAST ONCE
A WEEK

warning labels, are


estimated to have saved
about 8 million American
lives since 1964.
Thats 8 million people
who didnt die because
they heeded warnings that
smoking would kill them.
How many lives might
warning labels on sugary
drinks save?

SCOPE.SCHOLASTIC.COM SEPTEMBER 2014

19

A Better Solution

warning labels on our drinks, what


will we put warning labels on next?

If lawmakers are so convinced

Sugar is in everything. Should we

that they have to stop us from

put warning labels on every box of

drinking sweet beverages, then

cereal, every jar of tomato sauce,

why not try something that could

every package of bread?

actually work: a soda tax. A big

How about on apples? One


apple contains about 21 grams of

is that its so cheap. A tax would

sugarmore than half the sugar

make it expensive, and people

in a can of soda. Having too many

wouldnt want to buy so much of it.


In a 2009 article in The New

warning labels there are, the less

England Journal of Medicine,

impact the warnings will have.

professors Kelly Brownell and

Beverage companies are

soda just one penny per ounce

Americans be healthier. Coca-

could lower soda drinking by

Cola, for example, displays calorie

10 percent. That makes sense.

counts on the front of nearly all

Cigarette taxes have already proven

of its packaging, and it sponsors

successful in reducing smoking.

more than 280 physical activity

Plus, the money earned could go

and nutrition education programs

toward helping to fight obesity.

around the world.

BY EVAN COOK

warning labels?

arning labels on

warning labels will even work.

that other efforts to separate

Psychological studies have shown,

Americans from their favorite

a ridiculous idea

bombarding soda drinkers with

for instance, that for cigarette

drinks have failed. In 2012, then

that wont solve

warning labels wont help.

smokers, warning labels that tell

New York City Mayor Michael

them theyre going to die might

Bloomberg proposed a ban on

tempt them to smoke more. The

selling large-sized sodas outside

fact is that people who love soda

of grocery stores. The citys Board

are going to keep drinking soda.

of Health passed the law, but it

proposing.
Dont get me wrong. Sweet drinks

Wrong Approach
First of all, soda is not the only
cause of obesity. Not even close.

was overturned in court. A panel

both contribute to obesity. And

warning label on every sugary

of judges ruled that the Board of

problemin the United States.

as a representative for CalBev,

drinkand on pretty much every

Health did not have the authority

Some 17 percent of kids and a third

Californias branch of the American

food and beverage product sold

to tell people what to buy.

of adults are obese, according to

Beverage Association, points out,

in the U.S., actually. Its called

the Centers for Disease Control and

Only 4 percent of calories in the

Nutrition Facts, and it includes

Prevention. And obesity is a leading

average American diet are derived

everything anyone could possibly

cause of diseases such as diabetes

directly from soda.

want to know about whats in the

Inactivity and overeating can

obesity is a problema very serious

and heart disease.

20

SCHOLASTIC SCOPE SEPTEMBER 2014

Second of all, if we start putting

thing theyre about to eat or drink.

JACK HOLLINGSWORTH/CORBIS

Besides, theres already a

are a problem. More specifically,

labels, its leaders should consider

to better protect our health. But

what lawmakers in California are

Before California wastes time

sugary drinks? Thats

any problems. Yet, thats exactly

1 Sugar is addictive.

and money on absurd warning

Theres no guarantee that


As a nation, we must take steps

NO

Who needs the sugar police?

Leave Us Alone

Should beverage companies


really be punished with obnoxious

YES

Those drinks are dangerous!

Thomas Frieden found that taxing

already making efforts to help

Let us enjoy our sweet drinks in peace

Should sugary drinks have warning labels?


Identify the supporting evidence each author uses
in his argument. Write the information on
the lines below.

reason why soda is so popular

labels defeats the point; the more

NO!

What Do You Think?

EXAMINE POINTS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DEBATEAS


WELL AS YOUR OWN BELIEFSand decide what you think. State

your opinion in one sentence below. This can become the thesis statement
for an argument essay.

In other words, the government


has no right to mess with our
drinks.
You hear that, California?
Back off.

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