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In the Great Soda Wars, it often seems that beverage companies have the upper hand. Critics of restricting access to soda and other sweetened beverages have the rhetoric of freedom and liberty — or rather Freedom! and Liberty! — to draw on as well as the whole history of failed government attempts to restrict stuff people like that’s bad for you. But now we have the latest entry in the Soda Wars saga; what I’d call: The Researchers Strike Back.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has published a series of articles dedicated to research and commentary on the health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, yes, but also 100 percent fruit juice). The conclusions are striking. As The New York Times put it, the articles offered critics of soda consumption “a potent weapon: strong evidence that replacing sugared drinks with sugar-free substitutes or water really can slow weight gain in children.”