Press Release

Harvard Study Wrongly Blames Soda for Obesity

Washington, DC – Today the Center for Consumer Freedom questioned the findings of a report published Tuesday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which “discovered” that an extra can of non-diet soda a day can cause 15 pounds of weight gain in a year. The review, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, entirely misses the commonsense point that 150 extra calories of anything will cause people to gain weight.

“It doesn’t take a Harvard Ph.D., let alone a high school diploma to realize that the more calories we eat, the more weight we’ll gain,” said senior research analyst J. Justin Wilson. “It’s a basic law of nutrition. Whether it’s an extra bowl of lima beans, shredded wheat or can of soda, eating more calories than you burn will always lead to weight gain.”

Wilson continued, “This report completely ignores the other side of the obesity equation: energy expenditure. From moving sidewalks in airports to electric staplers, Americans have engineered exercise out of their lives. This study does a disservice by providing a feel-good distraction that places the blame on a single food, but does little to address the fundamental changes in how we live.”

In March the Center for Consumer Freedom released a report highlighting the latest available science on the soda-obesity issue. The report, titled “Why Soda Bans Don’t Fight Childhood Obesity,” clarifies the record on soda’s impact on weight and puts to rest the myth that any single food or drink is responsible for America’s growing waistlines.

Citing a wide array of peer-reviewed health, exercise, and nutrition research, the Center’s report disputes the claim that soda is a leading cause of obesity and instead shows that inactivity is the single biggest contributor to overweight among children. While caloric intake among children hasn’t appreciably changed in decades, energy expenditure rates have plummeted.

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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