Everything You Know about Calories is Wrong

Coke hatsRemember all the disdain that our posts have heaped onto fatlogic proponents who convince themselves that food snuck from someone else’s plate doesn’t have calories, or food eaten on an airplane is calorie-free? Maybe Childhood Obesity News should apologize for making fun, because, as it turns out, calories don’t count and never did.

That’s right, at least according to the Global Energy Balance Network. It exists thanks to the Coca-Cola Company, whose profits have been shrinking as consumers become more health-conscious. A truism expressed by more than one skeptic is that when corporate corruption enters the picture, science can no longer be trusted. Lest anyone scoff at the idea that these two entities are working hand in glove, Anahad O’Connor revealed this in the New York Times:

Records show that the network’s website, gebn.org, is registered to Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, and the company is also listed as the site’s administrator. The group’s president, James O. Hill, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said Coke had registered the website because the network’s members did not know how.

This leaves the public with the unfortunate impression that nobody at the University of Colorado knows how register a domain name. Anyway, Healthfreedoms.org says:

Coca-Cola is putting millions of dollars forward to fund a scientific study that will indirectly promote and defend their product. Coca-Cola sought out researchers that have an established belief that diet does not affect weight gain to the extent that most people think it does.

“Diet—no! Exercise—yes!” is the battle cry, as researcher Steven N. Blair of GEBN assures the press that there is “really virtually no compelling evidence” that obesity  is caused by fast food or sugar-sweetened beverages. Coke is paying handsomely to prove it, and $5.5 million can buy a lot of proof. Coincidentally, $4 million of that total will be shared between Dr. Blair and Gregory A. Hand.

Blair (one of whose compositions is titled “Fit and Fat”) and his colleagues are tasked with designing a study that will deliver the desired results. It must certainly be one of history’s most expensive image-building campaigns, for which Blair promises that “actual data” will be utilized.

Marion Nestle, whose expertise lies in the multiple fields of public health, food studies, and nutrition, is one of the people sounding the alarm, calling the organization “nothing but a front group for Coca-Cola” and warning:

Coca-Cola’s agenda here is very clear: Get these researchers to confuse the science and deflect attention from dietary intake.

The HealthFreedoms.org writer added a telling detail about the soda manufacturer:

Earlier this year they published a number of pieces online for American Hearth Month, which suggested that a mini can of Coke could be a “healthy treat” that is actually good for you. Those pieces were largely rejected, so it seems that the company may be toning down their propaganda.

The Coca-Cola Company funded a study whose results were published in the August issue of the journal Obesity. Conducted by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, it showed that childhood obesity is caused by too much screen time, insufficient sleep, and not enough physical activity. Junk food, fast food, and sugar-sweetened beverages get off scott-free.

Of course, there are other, dissenting researchers who proclaim that everything we always believed about exercise is wrong—in other words, it does not lead to weight loss—so two different philosophies are crossing swords, and kids keep getting bigger.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Coca-Cola Spending Millions To Fund A Study Saying That Diet Doesn’t Affect Weight Gain
Healthfreedoms.org, August 2015
Source: “Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets
NYTimes.com, 08/09/15
Image from brainjet.com

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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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