What Has Coke Been Up To?

old Coca-Cola ad

As an example of a global corporation that activists love to hate, the Coca-Cola Company is at the top of the list. Every now and then, it’s useful to look back over what Coke has been up to, in its long and troubled relationship with the childhood obesity epidemic, as well as other serious health problems.

Rachel Nall wrote for LiveStrong.com about the connection between cola drinks and kidney disease. The phosphoric acid in the soda is said to create an acidic environment that facilitates the formation of kidney stones. According to this theory, the darker the cola, the worse the danger. The Coca-Cola Company, of course, denies that this is possible, and names other common beverages that it says contain more phosphoric acid than Coke.

Last fall, 12 Australian health groups collaborated on composing a letter to Coca-Cola asking the corporation to stop sponsoring children’s sports and to remove their products from the “tuckshops” where schoolchildren buy snacks. Nutrition Australia and Diabetes Australia were two of the participating organizations, and another was the Obesity Policy Coalition. Jane Martin, of the last-named group, was interviewed by Consumer Affairs Reporter Amy Bainbridge. Among other things, Martin said:

I don’t think the public should be taking dietary advice from Coca-Cola…. I think the public do deserve more and I think Coca-Cola really should be putting their marketing might behind actions that really would make a difference and actually accept that sugary drinks are a huge part of the obesity problem.

Bainbridge also gave Coca-Cola a chance to have its say, and a spokesperson told her:

‘We absolutely stand by our commitments which are aimed at providing people with choices, as well as encouraging them to be more active more often and enjoy our drinks as part of a balanced diet and lifestyle.’

That is the Coke party line in a nutshell, the rationale they repeat over and over again. The corporation is just a real nice friendly accommodating buddy who strives to give people what they want, no matter what it is, because the customer is always right. And there is no problem with consuming thousands of empty calories, as long as you do enough exercise to work them off.

Another propagandistic ploy is to claim that, as long as the corporation has a “robust system of declaring interests,” everything is okay. In other words, as long as the public is aware that Coke is sponsoring youth programs or whatever, we shouldn’t have a problem with it. One of their best lines is, “No one entity can solve this issue alone.” Translation: Go away and eliminate every other possible cause of childhood obesity, then come back and see us.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Does Soda Cause Kidney Stones?” Livestrong.com, 08/16/13
Source: “Leading health groups call on Coca-Cola to scrap ad campaign,” ABC.net.au, 09/11/13
Images by Insomnia Cured Here

2 Responses


    ‘We absolutely stand by our commitments which are aimed at providing people with choices, … even if they are loaded with chemicals, and acidic additives. We feel it is our right to produce poisons, even if they become addictive. Just like tobacco companies we have a right to produce this kind of product, because our shareholders are looking to profit – even at the expense of community health.”

    1. There it is, from a different perspective.
      Thanks for being a Childhood Obesity News reader!

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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