Transcript for Class action lawsuits could take aim at diet soda makers
Now to major lawsuits targeting three of the biggest diet soda brands accusing them of misleading marketing and saying that artificial sweeteners they used may cause weight gain. Paula Faris is here with the story. Good morning, Paula. Reporter: Good morning, Michael. These lawsuits which are filed just last week center on the use of aspartame and its controversial nature citing a recent report that shows a link between artificial sweeteners and type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This morning diet soda is under fire. Coca coal lay, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, the three largest U.S. Makers of carb natured beverages are facing proposed class action lawsuits alleging the marketing of their sodas are false, M misleading and deceiving shoppers into thinking the beverages will help them manage or lose weight. Products marketed as diet products should be helpful in helping people lose weight and these products are not helpful in losing weight. They may, in fact, do the opposite. Reporter: The suits also claim aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in the sodas is likely to cause weight gain rather than to help in weight loss or healthy weight management. There's no question this is deend accept tiff advertising. Reporter: Although the studies don't show conclusively aspartame directly cautions weight gain several do show a correlation between diet soda consumption and obesity, the calorie control council whose members include manufacturers of artificial sweeters like aspartame and diet sodas say reduced-calorie products are an important tool in helping consumers improve their diet and lose weight. The lawsuits are interesting. Aren't seeking any specific dollar amount but want the jury and for these beverages to stop being marketed as diet. The American beverage association reps the three calls these meritless. Thank you, Paula. We'll be joined by Dr. Jennifer Ashton and, doc, you're board certified in obesity medicine. What is the science behind this claim? Do they have a case. Obesity is a complex disorder. Multiple factors go into it, genetic, behavior, what are you drinking, eeling, some medications and environment. While drinking a zero calorie beverage has some benefits there is no clear date that that aspartame directly leads to weight loss. Now, regardless if they are healthy or not, they are sugar-free. Right. The pros outweigh the cons? That's a complex question, right? There is extensive data linking them to obesity, cardiovascular disease. You have to weigh the risks versus the benefits versus alternatives and when you talk about them, you need to remember our bodies are 60% water. Not 60% sweetened beverage. Good point. Got to watch what you put into your body. That was the story behind the story. As we -- as I said you don't order the large fries and the large -- the Big Mac, large fries and a diet soda. Doesn't work that way. We move to a frightening
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