A Busy Year for Coke


February is American Heart Month, and last year at this time the Coca-Cola Company disgraced itself by bribing nutritionists to blog about how a can of high fructose corn syrup and phosphoric acid is a healthful snack. Not surprisingly, there is still more to say about Coke’s doings in 2015.

It was a busy year for the world’s largest purveyor of liquified sugar, tooth decay, and childhood obesity. Those things fit together so diabolically well, it’s almost as it the plan was intentional. When kids imbibe enough Coke that their teeth have to be extracted, they can no longer cope with the crunchiness of fresh fruits and vegetables. In which case, what other choice do they have but to drink more Coke?

According to PLOS Medicine, when research is funded by the industry that produces sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), it is five times as likely to deny the link between SSBs and obesity than research supported in other ways.

The University of Colorado had accepted $1million or so to create an advocacy group that would tell the world that soft drinks aren’t so bad, and everybody should just exercise more. The school had second thoughts and gave back the grant money.

Jake Williams wrote:

Declining to participate in a dishonest strategy that sacrifices our health for the sake of somebody else’s bottom line was the right move for the university as an institution and for our state as a whole… The university’s decision to reject Coke will hopefully be a national precedent that inhibits the sugary beverage industry’s strategy to co-opt our nation’s premier research institutions.

Colorado used to be the fittest state, then slipped down the charts to one of the fittest, and the inhabitants are starting to worry. Adults still rate pretty high, but compared to other states the children are only in 26th place, because about one-quarter of Colorado’s kids are overweight or obese.

RealFarmacy.com calls Coke “a product that is utterly devoid of nutritional value” whose parent corporation has been spending heavily (which in this context, of course, means millions of dollars) to prevent GMO labeling on food products. Coke’s clandestine financing of this non-disclosure battle would have also been unknown, if the government had not sued the Grocery Manufacturers Association and made it reveal all the secret contributors.

The thrill is gone

While there are arguments both for and against genetically modified organisms (aka food), consumers should at least know which kind they are getting, and that is done through labeling. The presence of a few more letters on the package or bag is not a lot to ask. The fact that Coke is against it is reason enough to get out there and fight for truth in labeling.

Speaking of veracity, the Coca Cola Corporation is also accused being a hypocrite. Its Honest Tea website is filled with proud proclamations of a GMO-free product, but meanwhile the parent company is worried sick over the terrible prospect of being required to label its other, GMO-based concoctions.

Coke’s anguish stems partly from the dwindling popularity of sugar-based drinks. Business is booming, thanks to ostensibly healthy stuff like Vitamin Water, Powerade, Odwalla, Simply Orange and, of course, Honest Tea, but somehow it’s just not the same.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Guest Commentary: CU right to reject Coca-Cola’s money,” DenverPost.com, 11/11/15
Source: “Coca-Cola Paid $1,000,000 to Make Sure You Don’t Know This,” RealFarmacy.com, 11/30/15
Photo credit: SliceofNYC via Visual hunt/CC BY

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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.
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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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