Jan. 9 - Food and drink makers voluntarily sold more than 6 trillion fewer calories, six times higher than pledged, says a new study. But it's unclear how much credit they deserve. Fred Katayama reports.
Americans cut 78 calories out of their daily intake, and - surprise - they may be able to thank food companies. A study by University of North Carolina researchers found that over a five year period, food and beverage companies sold 6 times fewer calories in the U.S. than the amount they had pledged to cut. That study was financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest U.S. foundation devoted to healthcare. Participating in the pledge: Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever and 13 other companies that account for more than a third of the calories produced by food and beverage makers in the U.S. To combat obesity, those companies had pledged to cut 1 trillion calories by 2012. But they wound up cutting 6.4 trillion. They've been shrinking package sizes and producing and plugging lower-calorie options. But it's unclear just how much credit the food manufacturers deserve. Consumers may have played a big part. The director of the study says parents may be leading the drive because households with children accounted for the biggest cutback in calories. And the Great Recession could have cut into sales as well.