The Industry — A Decade of Perfidy

When we talk about the soda industry we are, let’s face it, pretty much talking about the Coca-Cola Company, which holds the distinction of thinking up a bunch of bad actions; and of being the first to try them out, and also of repeating them more often, more widely, and more thoroughly than any other company. Childhood Obesity News has discussed this corporation’s nasty habits before, and now celebrates the turn of the decade by looking back on the last 10 years for any we might have skipped.

Back in 2010, many consumer advocacy groups were upset over what seemed like a mere cosmetic effort concerning food labels. Manufacturers strive to give an impression that the contents of their packages are more “natural” than the contents of their competitors’ packages. Meanwhile, no substantive changes are made.

Government bodies in Britain and Europe were still enmeshed in a fight with the giant Ajinomoto Corporation, which makes aspartame. Unfortunately, many “watchdog” agencies had decreed the substance to be okay.

Then in 2011, along came neotame, supposedly an obesity fighter, but actually the opposite.
Opponents pointed out that the two amino acids in neotame stimulate the release of insulin and leptin. Those hormones have a lot to do with satiety, fat storage, and other elements of what we call the body’s metabolism.

Leptin resistance can develop just like insulin resistance, and also increase visceral fat. Although neotame is not sugar, it acts like sugar — so what exactly is the point of using it as a sugar substitute? Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration approved it.

Speaking of hormones…

For the journal Human Reproduction, Alexa Erickson reported on research from the Harvard School of Public Health on how liquid sugar (a fitting synonym for soda pop) is changing the world, and not for the better. Scholars monitored the health of 5,583 girls, ages 9-14, for five years, which is a respectable time frame for a study. Erickson wrote:

They concluded that consuming more than one-and-a-half sugary drinks a day in the five-year time frame resulted in girls having their first periods 2.7 months earlier than those who consumed two or less of the same drinks a week…

[T]he researchers’ findings took into account other factors that may affect a girl’s age of first menstruation, including the girls’ BMI, height, daily calories, exercise, and other lifestyle factors, and found soda and other sugary drinks were still to blame.

Science is far from understanding all the harm done by accelerating the process of puberty, but what has been learned so far is sobering. These questions do not get enough attention, because teams are busy arguing about whether natural sweeteners are worse or better than artificial ones. Can we just stipulate that they are all harmful, and move on to actually making some kind of difference?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “100% natural (and absolutely no ‘hairy chemicals’…),”, 06/14/10
Source: “The Newest Dangerous Sweetener to Hit Your Food Shelves…,”, 02/08/11
Source: “Scientists Outline Distressing Facts About What Soda Drinks Are Doing To The Bodies Of Young Girls,”, 07/14/16
Image by Trevilian Coke/Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

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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