It was only a matter of time before this would happen. Coke has been manipulating the public for years with its clever advertising campaigns, but this time they’ve gone too far…and they’ve been caught red-handed.
In case you missed it, the New York Times uncovered a story revealing that Coke paid millions to well-known universities and scientists, to conduct so-called “unbiased research.” And, surprise, surprise — this research produced results in their favor.
In a nutshell, this new research claims that “exercise is the most important thing in controlling weight…and cutting back on sugar isn’t the problem.”
Really? Since when? Because this message is contrary to mountains of other independent studies on sugar. Not to mention it flies in the face of simple logic.
Here’s how Coke concocted their web of deception:
First they donated nearly $1.5 million to start an organization run by prominent scientists called the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN). The group’s president, James O. Hill, is a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and is also a co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry. Since 2008 Coke has also provided close to $4 million in funding for various projects to two of the organization’s founding members: Dr. Steven Blair, a professor and exercise scientist at the University of South Carolina and Gregory A. Hand, dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health. Dr. Blair’s research has formed much of the basis of federal guidelines on physical activity over the past 25 years.
These doctors say that Coke doesn’t decide what they do and what they report, but they also conveniently made no mention of Coca-Cola’s financial support. Isn’t it also an odd “coincidence” that GEBN’s web site (gebn.org) is registered and administered by the Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta? They must really think we are idiots.
But it gets worse…
Dr. Blair went on record saying that while popular media and the scientific press have been “blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on” for obesity, “there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”
No compelling evidence? Is he serious? All he has to do is take a trip to the nearest mall food court to see the evidence first hand, as masses of overweight people guzzle Coke products all day.
GBEN has also been promoting the message that “weight-conscious Americans are obsessed on how much they eat and drink and don’t pay enough attention to exercise.” In other words, they want you to believe that drinking Coke has nothing to do with this country’s spiraling obesity epidemic. It’s all because people are lazy and don’t exercise enough.
The scary thing is, their blame-shifting message is getting exposure in medical journals, at conferences, and through social media.
Of course, this whole campaign all boils down to Coca-Cola trying to revamp the public’s perception of soda. Americans have cut back on full-calorie sodas by 25 percent over the last 20 years. And Coke’s sales have been steadily declining as a result.
So what does Coke do to reverse this downward trend? Fund doctors to perform research that persuades consumers to look away from the science tarnishing its image.
Talk about spin. This is Coke’s attempt “to teach the world to sing” a new tune. One that they invented, backed by “research” they bought and paid for.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for getting more exercise. But you simply can’t outrun the problems sugar causes. Especially when you consider that a single 20-ounce bottle of Coke, which takes just a few minutes to gulp down, has 65 grams of sugar and a whopping 240 calories. In order to burn that off you would have to run for 50 minutes or walk 5 miles!
By the same token, I definitely don’t believe reducing calories is the answer to fighting obesity. You simply have to eat the right ones. And I hate to tell you this Coca-Cola, but you just don’t manufacture any of the good calories.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Diet Coke is any better, either. When sales for Diet Coke started declining a few years ago, the company “donated” $1.7 million in an attempt to defeat California’s GMO labeling initiative. Then they rolled out a cleverly crafted ad campaign disguised as public service announcements in an attempt to convince consumers that aspartame, the artificial sweetener in Diet Coke, was perfectly safe, and is the “healthy alternative” to sugar.
For all intents and purposes, it was like they were saying, “go ahead and have a Diet Coke, it will help you stay thin and healthy.”
But, as you’re well aware, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. (And if you’re not up to speed, you can read more about the dangers of aspartame here.)
As I’ve said before, when it comes to the “Big Sugar” cohorts, Coke is a giant among them. And they will always be scrambling to come up with ways to keep their money train rolling.
But hopefully this groundbreaking story will finally cause the public to wake up and see Coke for what it really is…a big bully following in the footsteps of the tobacco industry that deceived the public for years into thinking smoking was safe.
When you get right down to it, Coke is no different from any pharmaceutical company. They skew research. It’s sad, it’s true and it serves no one’s interest but their own.
These slick studies-turned-marketing campaigns will do whatever it takes to make you believe them. But there is just no way on God’s green earth that Coke is healthy.