The Checkup: Soda Vending Machines Will Soon Display Calorie Labels

Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper say they'll soon post calorie counts right on vending machine buttons.

• I’m not much of a soda drinker. But I’m positive that if I was I’d quit cold turkey once Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper roll out their new vending machines with posted calorie counts next year. The move comes as more and more people (and studies, and experts) point to the role of sugary drinks in America’s obesity crisis. “They’re seeing the writing on the wall and want to say that it’s corporate responsibility,” said Mike Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, to the Associated Press. The move follows President Obama’s healthcare law, upheld last summer by the Supreme Court, which requires vending machine operators with more than 20 machines to post calorie information. No timetable was attached to the requirement, however, so the soda giants are staying a step ahead by implementing the measure themselves. So far, studies have found only limited success in posted calorie counts improving consumer choices in places like New York and Philly, where such labeling is already required at chains. Still, “people may start ordering small fries, say, instead of large ones, or a regular hamburger instead of a quarter-pounder,” Margo Wootan, CSPI’s director of nutrition policy, told the New York Times last month, regarding McDonald’s new posted-calorie menus. “This is all still very new.” And, hey, for what it’s worth, it totally worked for me.

• Here’s a reason to add more tomatoes to your diet: A new study found an association between the fruit and lower stroke risk. But before you go eating them like apples (not that there’s anything wrong with it), know that more studies need to be done to find a cause-and-effect relationship. Read more here.

• If you’ve got some seriously expired medications in your cabinet, don’t toss them just yet. A new study found that active ingredients in many medications can stay potent long after their expiration dates. The Los Angeles Times has details on which ones last longest.