Food, beverage companies cut 6.4 trillion calories from products in past five years: Report

January 9, 2014
by Michelle Castillo
CBS News

Food and beverage companies are trying to help Americans fight obesity by cutting more than 6 trillion calories from their products over a five-year span, an independent review discovered.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said on Thursday that 16 of the top food and beverage manufacturers sold 54 trillion calories in 2012, compared to 60.4 trillion calories in 2007. RWJF is a non-profit organization dedicated to health and health care issues in the United States.

However, Jeff Levi, executive director of non-profit advocacy group Trust for America's Health, told Reuters that people should not assume that just because food and beverage companies are lowering calorie counts that our obesity problems will be solved.

Other significant sources of calories in the U.S. diet are from fast food and restaurants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined in Feb. 2013 that 11 percent of an U.S. adult’s calories come from fast food. Other recent reports, including May 2013 research in BMJ, showed that adults and especially teens underestimated the amount of calories in fast food meals by as much as 34 percent. Two more studies out that month in JAMA Internal Medicine found thatrestaurants and small food chains leave few choices for those looking to cut calories.

"Particularly with kids, there is a role for regulation,” Levi said.

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