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7-Up sued over claims touting healthfulness of some sodas

November 08, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • A California man is suing the maker of 7-Up over claims that some varieties of the soda with added antioxidant are good for you.
A California man is suing the maker of 7-Up over claims that some varieties… (Breakingcopy.com )

A California man is challenging the notion that 7-Up is naturally good for you.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Sherman Oaks resident for touting the healthful aspects of an added antioxidant in some 7-Up varieties.

The lawsuit, to be filed in U.S. District Court in California, says the claim is misleading because it gives the impression the antioxidants come from fruit rather than added Vitamin E.

7-Up Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant, and Pomegranate Antioxidant were launched in 2009. "There’s never been a more delicious way to cherry pick your antioxidant!" says the 7-Up website.

Not so, responds Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"Non-diet varieties of 7-Up, like other sugary drinks, promote obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and other serious health problems, and no amount of antioxidants could begin to reduce those risks," he said. "Adding an antioxidant to a soda is like adding menthol to a cigarette. Neither does anything to make an unhealthy product healthy."

Despite pictures of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and pomegranates on various 7-Up labels, the drinks contain no fruit or juice of any kind.

What they do contain is high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid, potassium benzoate and Red Dye 40. The Mixed Berry and Pomegranate varieties also contain Blue 1 dye.

One 12-ounce serving contains 9 teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories.  The diet versions replace the high-fructose corn syrup with the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame potassium.  

In all six 7-Up products, the added antioxidant is a small amount of vitamin E in the form of vitamin E acetate or d-alpha tocopherol acetate.  But the health benefits of antioxidants are supported by studies involving consumption of real fruits and vegetables.

According to the lawsuit, the antioxidant claims violate several California laws related to fraudulent business practices and misleading advertising.

No word from 7-Up's maker, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, on how vigorously the company plans to defend the soda's fruity goodness.


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