Today, saying that soda is bad for kids is a relatively acceptable statement. Most people, in general, understand that soda drinks simply aren’t good for us. Soda producers know this as well seeing they’ve reacted creating “diet” versions of their core products which typically end up as worse, more dangerous, versions of their original counterparts. Coca-Cola is notorious for their advertisement campaigns that paint a completely opposite story, typically a world uniting narrative featuring the thin and healthy.
Unfortunately, soda is making everyone fat. And now Coca-Cola, in desperation, is trying to change the persona of their prized sodas.
A new write up by investigative journalist, Paul Thacker, alleges that Coca-Cola paid off journalist in order to influence them. Essentially, Coca-Cola was hoping to downplay the sugar and obesity connection. The documents were obtained under Freedom of Information laws. Thacker even claims Coca-Cola paid off journalism conferences. 4
Industry money was used to covertly influence journalists with the message that exercise is a bigger problem than sugar consumption in the obesity epidemic, documents obtained under freedom of information laws show. The documents detail how Coca-Cola funded journalism conferences at a US university in an attempt to create favourable press coverage of sugar sweetened drinks. When challenged about funding of the series of conferences, the academics involved weren’t forthcoming about industry involvement.
Thacker goes on to note that products such as Coca-Cola notoriously relate their sugar-laden drinks to a sport so that they can make it seem that it is OK to drink their sodas so long as people exercise.
As Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, told The BMJ, “For Coca-Cola the ‘energy balance’ message has been a crucial one to cultivate, as its underlying inference is that, even for soda drinkers, obesity is more a consequence of inactivity than it is of regularly drinking liquid candy.”
Making the connection to paid off journalist following through with their good press coverage…
The six figure bill for funding these journalism conferences was more than repaid in favourable press coverage, say critics. Documented evidence of the industry’s covert influence on the media is rare. In 2004, researchers examined secret documents made public during tobacco litigation. Attempting to derail the effect of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 1993 report on secondhand smoke, the tobacco industry successfully placed stories in major print publications about the report’s “scientific weakness” to help “build considerable reasonable doubt . . . particularly among consumers,” the researchers wrote.1 They concluded that even journalists can fall victim to well orchestrated public relations efforts, regardless of the quality of the science used in these PR exercises.
The article goes on to cite a number of examples. Coca-Cola “donated $1m to the University of Colorado, home institution of the Global Energy Balance Network’s president, James Hill, a professor of pediatrics.” Another baffling example was CNN. “A CNN reporter attended the 2014 journalism conference and later contributed to a story that argued that obesity’s cause could be a lack of exercise, not the consumption of sugary soft drinks.”
“Critics told The BMJ that Coca-Cola’s $37,000 support for that particular conference and the resulting story was a better bargain than an advertisement placed on CNN’s website.”
Some months after the event, Hill emailed a Coca-Cola executive and described the conference as a “home run,” adding, “The journalists told us this was an amazing event and they generated a lot of stories.” Hill continued, “You basically supported the meeting this year . . . I think we can get many more sponsors involved next year.”
Journalist Kristin Jones called the entire scam out, but was told it was no big deal. The Foundations President, Bob Meyers, essentially fired off Jones’ complaints to professors at the University of Colorado.
“The funding for this came from our general educational grant resources.” Months later, Peters emailed Coca-Cola executives a report on the 2014 journalism conference, thanking them for the “educational grant that supported this work.”
“I feel like I was lied to,” Jones told The BMJ. Jones no longer works as a journalist but said that she would not have attended the conference had she known of Coca-Cola’s funding.
Hardly anyone these days is under the impression that drinking sodas is in any way, healthy. In fact, sodas may well be the very unhealthiest of all the unhealthy possible options available to us. Soda serves no health benefit. They have no fiber to help blunt the massive sugar loads they deliver. They aren’t a natural source of vitamins or minerals. They aren’t calorically dense. In fact, as you will see in the graphic below courtesy of the RenegadePharmacist, they add in chemicals to help you refrain from vomiting the poison sugar loads.
And don’t think for a second that “diet” versions of these drinks are any better. In fact, many studies show them to actually be worse than their regular version counterparts. Sounds insane, right? Well often times the body treats fake sugar like real sugar, elicit an insulin response. Many people report huge weight loss and big health benefits just from ceasing consumption of sodas. If you still drink sodas, you might consider this.
Mom of 6 Leanne discovers the secrets to being more Sugar Smart and you won’t believe how easy it is. Watch as Leanne and her family tackle the challenges and see what changes they make with the help of Change4Life and the Sugar Smart app.
Maybe a good app to help monitor sugar in your kids during the New Year? Would you ever use an app like this?
Tom Brady is best known as the 4 Time Superbowl champion quarterback of the New England Patriots. In some circles, he is considered the best quarterback ever. And now he might also be remembered for his assault on the processed foods industry, of which he has a history of taking verbal jabs at. On his weekly radio show on WEEI, he once again called out processed food companies as being the evil empire which they are. This time his disdain targeted Coca Cola and Frosted Flakes. Below are some excerpts from the Interview. He really nails it.
Talking about big food in general.
“I think we’ve been lied to by a lot of food companies over the years, by a lot of beverage companies over the years. But we still do it! That’s just America, and that’s what we’ve been conditioned to. We believe Frosted Flakes is actually a food. And you just keep eating those things and wondering why we do have incredible rates of disease in our country. And no one thinks it has anything to do with what we put in our body.“
Talking about soda.
“You’ll probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think, oh yeah, that’s no problem, why? Because they pay a lot of money for advertisements. … I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that’s quackery. I think that the fact that they can sell that to kids — that’s poison for kids! But they keep doing it.”
Tom Brady doesn’t think much of donuts…
“Of course they taste very good. All those companies make lots of money selling those things, they have lots of money to advertise. When you go to the Super Bowl, who are the sponsors? That’s the education we get, that’s what we get brainwashed to believe. That all these things are just normal food groups that you should eat. And these are the things you should take when you get sick. I like to try to avoid those things.”
The food pyramid? Nah, Tom Brady doesn’t like that either.
“I disagree with that. I disagree with a lot of things that people tell you to do.”
Tom Brady approves of alternative health.
“There’s a lot of things that I see on a daily basis in Western medicine that I think, wow, why would they ever do that? That is crazy, that doesn’t work. That’s just how life is. There’s a lot of things that are the norm, that are very systematic, that just don’t work.
I’ve had doctors with the highest and best education in this country telling me that I wouldn’t be able to play football again. That I would need multiple surgeries on my knee for my staph infection. That I would needed a new ACL, a new MCL. That I wouldn’t be able to play with my kids when I’m older… It’s interesting because, like I’ve said, I’ve chosen a different approach, and that approach works for me.
Here is the full interview for anyone who is interested. This man is a professional athlete who’s body depends on health and energy. If he is using alternative health and avoiding big food, then how can we all not see the benefit?