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Companies Surpassed Pledge Goal: Removed 6.4 Trillion Calories

Update Date: Sep 19, 2014 10:11 AM EDT

16 food and beverage companies have more than fulfilled their pledge in reducing the amount of calories in their products sold within the United States. The companies, which were all joined together through the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, had pledged to cut one trillion calories between 2007 and 2012, and 1.5 trillion by 2015. Now, according to a new report, the companies have surpassed their goal and reduced calories by 6.4 trillion.

"The 16 companies collectively met their pledge and exceeded their pledge," said lead researcher Shu Wen Ng, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported by WebMD.

In one of the studies, the researchers found that these 16 major companies contribute to about one-third of all calories from food supply within the U.S. The reductions they cut were mostly from food categories that were deemed "concerning." This included sweetened beverages, snacks, cereals, candies, cookies, fats and oils. According to Ng, the 6.4 trillion calories that were cut is equivalent to nearly 78 fewer calories per person per day.

In the other study, the team examined the effects that the reductions had on families with children. The researchers calculated that now, families purchased packaged goods that contain 101 fewer calories per person each day.

"[The reduction] is good to see, but I would support the authors' suggestion to assess nutrient intake, [to evaluate] quality of calories, not just calories," Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition for Washington University in St. Louis, commented according to CBS News. "Flip the package around and check the whole Nutrition Facts panel, not just the calories. Getting the best nutrition for your calories makes food choices more economical. Reading the list of ingredients also helps you know what you are buying as compared to just reading the product name."

The companies that participated were Bumble Bee Foods, Campbell Soup Co., ConAgra Foods, General Mills Inc., Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods Inc., Mars Inc., McCormick & Co., Nestle USA, PepsiCo Inc., Post Foods/Ralston Foods, Hillshire Brands, Coca-Cola Co., Hershey Co., the J.M. Smucker Co. and Unilever.

The researchers two reports, "The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Pledge: Calories Purchased by U.S. Households with Children, 2000-2012," and "Cutting Calories Trillions at a Time," were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and it was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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