Coca-Cola is trying really hard to promote the idea that physical exercise, rather than cutting down on calories, is the solution to end obesity in the United States.
The beverage giant is reportedly donating million of dollars to a new nonprofit group, named Global Energy Balance Network, which argues that weight-conscious people should pay more attention to exercise and less attention to their diet, according to The New York Times.
“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ – blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,” the group’s vice president, Steven N. Blair, an exercise scientist, said in a video announcing the new organization. “And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”
However, most experts disagree with this message and consider it an attempt to deflect criticism about the role soda plays in the spread of diabetes and obesity. Since people aren’t likely to heed health advice from Coke, the beverage company is seemingly using health groups to disseminate their biased message.
“Coca-Cola’s sales are slipping, and there’s this huge political and public backlash against soda, with every major city trying to do something to curb consumption,” said Michele Simon, a public health lawyer. “This is a direct response to the ways that the company is losing. They’re desperate to stop the bleeding.”
Two universities that employ leaders of the nonprofit told the newspaper that Coke paid $1.5 million last year to start the organization. The company has also funneled more than $4 million to two of the group’s founding members – Dr. Blair, a professor at the University of South Carolina, and Gregory A. Hand, dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health – for various projects.
Moreover, the organization’s website is also registered to Coke’s headquarters in Atlanta. However, James O. Hill, group’s president and a professor at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine, has a really interesting clarification: Coca-Cola registered the website because group members did not know how to set it up.
“They’re not running the show,” he stated. “We’re running the show.”
Meanwhile, the beverage company has released a statement, saying that they have a long history of supporting researches and studies linked to its beverages.
“We partner with some of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and physical activity,” the statement read. “It’s important to us that the researchers we work with share their own views and scientific findings, regardless of the outcome, and are transparent and open about our funding.”
Whatever the case might be, this is definitely not the first time Coca-Cola has made headlines for trying to portray its beverages as healthy snacks.
Earlier this year, Coke was accused of sponsoring online pieces for American Hearth Month, suggesting that a mini-can of Coke is a healthy treat. In 2014, the American Beverage Association published findings of a study that argued diet soda could aid in weight loss.
Needless to say, it’s an established fact that guzzling down dozens of spoons of sugar is not healthy in any way. There are several studies that have proved that sodas contribute to weight-gain.