Coca-Cola expands anti-obesity push, FDA looks into caffeine - Tucson News Now

Coca-Cola expands anti-obesity push, FDA looks into caffeine

PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -
Coca-Cola says it will work to make lower-calorie drinks and clear nutrition information more widely available around the world. 

In January, Coca-Cola launched an ad campaign called "Coming Together." The ad touts Coke's array of low- and no-calorie beverages.
Coca-Cola's chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent said Wednesday on CBS This Morning, "In fact we have launched many portion control packs in the United States in the last three years effectively, smaller cans, smaller bottles, smaller portion packs."
Kent emphasized that the "whole food industry needs to also come in and partner with the governments, with the civil society. Governments can't solve it alone," Kent said. "Legislation can't solve this, this is about awareness and habits that are not changed easily." 

As part of Coke's "Coming Together" campaign, the company said Wednesday it would offer low- or no-calorie drinks around the world, and back physical activity programs in an effort to target obesity around the world. 

According to 2010 numbers from the Pima County Health Department, the most recent available, obesity in Pima County was 27%, higher than that of Arizona overall (25%) but just below the United States (28%). 

In other health news today, the Food and Drug Administration is looking into the possibility of regulating caffeine. We know there is caffeine in soda, energy drinks, coffee and some teas, but there are also foods and food products that have caffeine added to them. 

Wrigley's gum recently introduced its "Alert Energy Caffeine Gum." That, in part, has prompted the FDA to investigate caffeine that is being added to food and what effect it has, especially on children and adolescents.

Dr. Donald Gates with the program coordinator for the Pima County Health Department says caffeine in young children has been linked to some cardiovascular issues, and that's part of the concern.

"It was determined back in the '50s that [caffeine] was a safe product and the primary consumer was a full-sized adult," Dr. Gates said. "The concern is that if there's excessive stimulation of the nervous system that it will cause these secondary problems, like arrhythmia of the heart, but also that a person might become dependent on it. Not necessarily addicted but dependent and feel they're not able to function without their caffeine."

A spokesman for the FDA said in a press release that he hopes this investigation will be a turning point to prevent the "irresponsible addition of caffeine to food and beverage." 

For more from the FDA, visit the following link:  

Follow Paige on Twitter: @_PaigeHansen.

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