Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said the lawsuit filed in federal court in California alleges the antioxidant claim is misleading, since it gives the impression that the antioxidants come from the pictured healthful fruits. The lawsuit also alleged the claims were illegal, since U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibit fortifying nutritionally worthless snack foods and beverages with nutrients.
"Non-diet varieties of 7UP, 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," Jacobson said in a statement. "Adding an antioxidant to a soda is like adding menthol to a cigarette -- neither does anything to make an unhealthy product healthy."
Despite the pictures of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and pomegranates on various 7UP labels, the drinks contain no fruit or juice of any kind, Jacobson said.
7UP Cherry Antioxidant contains water, high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid, potassium benzoate and the dye Red 40. The Mixed Berry and Pomegranate varieties also contain Blue 1 dye. One 12-ounce serving contains nine teaspoons of sugar and 140 calories, Jacobson said.