Warning labels on sugary drinks may help people make healthier choices, a new study finds.
Sugary drinks are those with added sugar or sweeteners, including soda, sports drinks and fruit-flavored drinks.
"Our findings suggest that sugary drink warnings help consumers better understand products' healthfulness and encourage consumers to make healthier choices about what drinks to buy," said study leader Anna Grummon. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.
"These results highlight the potential usefulness of sugary drink warning policies in both informing consumers and reducing consumption of unhealthy beverages like sodas, energy drinks and fruit-flavored drinks," she said.
For the study, Grummon's team analyzed 23 published studies that included a total of more than 16,200 people. On average, warning labels led to significant reductions in sugary drink purchases, the analysis showed.
"Now, we are studying the best ways to design warnings to maximize their benefits," Grummon said in a news release from the American Society for Nutrition. "For example, should warnings include icons or pictures that help communicate the warnings' message?"
The research team is also looking at whether other kinds of messages, such as encouraging people to drink more water, would also help.
The findings were to be presented Monday at a virtual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more about sugary drinks, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .