The Empire (Coca-Cola) Strikes Back!

20 03 2010

Coca-Cola was quick to respond to my email! Their response is pretty much what I expected. Completely unsatisfactory. Of course, to make me happy, they’d have to admit that Coke is crappy for your health and for the world, which was never going to happen. But what is most bothersome is that they still blatantly say that there is link between soft drink consumption and obesity, along with the continued hypocrisy that they are super excited to help America get healthier.

Here is what they said:


Date: March 18, 2010 10:29:12 AM EDT

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company.

Your email, and the few others like it we have received, are very troubling to our company.  We pride ourselves on providing safe, wholesome beverages to a thirsty public around the world.

We apologize if there was a misunderstanding with our message however, we stated that Coca-Cola classic can be a part of a healthy lifestyle and contributes to hydration, not that the beverage alone would provide most or all nutritional needs.

Worldwide, The Coca-Cola Company is committed to supporting programs that promote a balanced lifestyle and physical activity. In the US alone, our support of physical activity programs have helped more than four million young people become more active.

We are aware of the child hood obesity issues and The Coca- Cola Company strongly supports the American Beverage Association’s industry-recommended school beverage guidelines for the U.S. which accelerate the shift to lower calorie and nutritious beverages for children in schools.  This year we have included these guidelines to apply to schools globally.

We do understand that individuals in some areas in the U.S. and globally do not have the education on calories and healthy lifestyle living available to them.  We also believe that people need to hear a very clear and unequivocal message that calories do count, and that extra calories from sugar are no different from extra calories from any other source when considering risk for overweight and obesity.  They also need to know that it is important to have a balanced diet and to be physically active every day.  Research shows that calorie (or energy) information is important in helping people achieve energy balance and maintain a healthy weight. Front of package labelling is designed to help consumers make informed choices that enable them to stay within their total daily calorie allotment. In the U.S., the new labels appeared on bottles and cans in 2009 and they include calories per serving and number of servings per container information. We expect to have front package calories and energy globally by the end of 2011.

As you know, there are many studies available showing a possibility of sugar sweetened beverages causing obesity however, there are also studies refuting these finds.

An epidemiological study in 2009 involving Spanish teenagers found that excess weight and obesity are not related to the consumption of sweetened soft drinks (SSD).  The cross-sectional study, involving 1,283 teens aged 13 to 18, was originally presented in October 2007 (a field notice was sent in December 17, 2007) at the VIII Congress of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity.  The paper has now been published and peer reviewed.  The research is part of the AVENA (Alimentation and Evaluation of the Nutritional State of Teenagers) study, a multicenter study sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Health, as well as international companies such as Procter & Gamble and The Coca-Cola Company.

The authors reported that:

-No association seems to be present in the studied population between SSD consumption and obesity.

-No differences were found in BMI between subjects having a moderate or even higher consumption of SSD compared to the non-consumers.

-Dietary patterns and physical activity need to be considered when examining epidemiological food intake relationships with obesity

-Intervention studies are crucial when trying to identify solutions of the increasing obesity epidemic.  (As noted above, this study was an epidemiological study, not an intervention study.)

We do understand that we will have to agree to disagree but, we wish you all the best.



Industry & Consumer Affairs

The Coca-Cola Company