Coca Cola Sponsors Brazilian Obesity Conference

Brazil

This is ugly. Coca Cola is trying desperately to become part of the “solution” to obesity. It’s like Marlboro trying to look like the solution to lung cancer. The latest ploy? Coca Cola is sponsoring a Brazilian conference on obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Now, I don’t blame Coca Cola. I’m sure this is a nice move and well worth the investment. It’s going to make the shareholders happy.

I do blame the conference organizers however. They are either too greedy or simply uninformed. Either way, it looks bad. It makes the entire conference smell.

The organizers are asking for comments on their site. I added one and according to Google Translate the answer was: “Your comment has been successfully received.
Will soon be published in this space.”

Somehow I doubt it will be published, but at least someone is reading it.

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13 Comments

  1. Claudia
    I left a message in Portuguese showing my disappointment and shame for such a congress in my home country. I mentioned I will print the list of participants to publish on health food & nutrition blogs to make a scandal out of the junk science those doctors are promoting... the junk science mentioned in the article above

    http://www.alternet.org/food/paranoia-about-fats-driven-junk-science?...

  2. Paul
    I understand and even agree with this, on the surface. However: I'm sure Coca Cola is taking this advantage to market Diet Coke, a zero-calorie drink which can arguably be used for weight loss.

    Marlboro does not have Diet Cigarettes. Maybe Diet Coke is evil, full of chemicals, and makes you hungry. Maybe not. For now, at least, Diet Coke and Coke Zero are FDA-approved, and represent a huge part of the company's business. Many people do switch from sugary drinks to diet drinks. So maybe this article is a bit over-reactionary.

    Reply: #3
  3. FrankG
    Have you forgotten "light" cigarettes?

    And this is not an "article" but rather a "blog post" and I'd say that Dr Eenfeldt is entitled to his opinion.. especially on his own blog!

    I also agree that it is ludicrous to have one of the major promoters and beneficiaries of the problem trying to market themselves as part of the solution.

  4. murray
    The problem with Coke's participation is that it will have a chilling effect of frank discussions of likely causes of obesity and exploration of remedial strategies. Everyone who has been in meetings knows how the tone of meetings can be manipulated by plants requesting solid proof of claims, etc., to shut down exploratory thinking that might be detrimental to vested interests.
  5. Helga
    Well, unfortunately that's not all: Aché sells medication, Delboni Auriemo sells health exams, Novo Nordisk sells INSULIN, Danone sells sugary yoghurts and Abott Nutrition sells supplements. I can see the conflict of interest in getting people to eat well and get healthy for every and each of these sponsors. So, even if Coca Cola tries and markets Coke Zero as a solution, this is still far from ok.
  6. chilisalsa
    You can not say Ohhh i has NO calories so it doesent have an effect on you......
    Sweetnwrs affect insuline resistance......

    https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/25491.aspx
    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2013/04/30/dc12-2221.a...

  7. François Melançon
    In reponse to Paul (comment # 2)

    I wish Paul was right. But unfortunately he is not. Drinking soft drinks laced with an artificial sweetener increases dramatically the risk of stroke. See: Am J Clin Nutr December 2012 vol. 96 no. 6 1390-1397 Soft drink intake in relation to incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and stroke subtypes in Japanese men and women: the Japan Public Health Centre–based study cohort. This study (a cohort study is one of the best designs): it showed that the risk of stroke was nearly doubled by artificial sweeteners.

    These findings were confirmed by a number of studies, including this american study: J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Sep;27(9):1120-6. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1968-2. Epub 2012 Jan 27.
    Diet soft drink consumption is associated with an increased risk of vascular events in the Northern Manhattan Study from the authors Gardener H, Rundek T, Markert M, Wright CB, Elkind MS, Sacco RL... You can find the abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22282311.

    I also commend Vhilisalsa for finding the above references...

    All in all, sweetened drinks, either real sugar or artificial sugar, are BAD for you.

    Now.

    I do eat sugar. In REAL fruits. In small quantities.

    To give an idea of why our system is not made to process such elevated levels of sugar and carbs, think about the following: to ingest as much sugar as in a one liter (34 oz) bottle of soft drink (smaller than the "average" big gulp the idiot Sarah Palin drank publikly during a political rallye to make fun of Mayor Bloomberg), how much sugar cane )2 inches / 5 cm diam) should one eat? 8 1/2 feet long!

    It is hard as wood and extremely fibrous. By the time you finish that feat, you will have burned more sugar than was in the cane.

    We were not made to eat high amounts of sugar. Doing so promotes inflammation systematically and dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases.

    My colleague Doc Eenfeld did not overreact. He was right on target. And I hope he'll continue hitting on that same nail.

    Dr François Melançon, MD, 30 years a family medicine doctor

  8. BillP
    @Francois: Although I also am cautious of diet soda consumption (since it is not very paleo, and I am slightly paranoid about the sweeteners), there are some problems with the study that you cited. See the commentary here:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-012-2126-1/fulltext.html

    Regards.

    Reply: #9
  9. François Melançon
    BillP is right: association does not prove causation. Unless this association is seen over and over again, in various circumstances when different possible confounding factors are taken into account (as with cigarette smoking and lung cancer - we have now enough evidence that we can say with confidence there is causation).

    When there is not this constant relationship, then we can say the association was due to something else. For example, one study linked pancreas cancer and coffee drinking. All subsequent studies showed the reverse. People who drank coffee also smoked much more cigarettes. The initial finding also had to do with the selection of patients.

    For artificial sweeteners, it is true that one of the studies may bring some questions. But other studies have been done and the conclusions are the same: there seems to be an association between artificial sweeteners (at least those studies) and stroke.

    We definitely are not at the same level of confidence as with smoking and lung cancer. But the evidence is adding up. So until we get full confidence, I think it may be a good idea to use a little precaution.

    François

    Reply: #10
  10. FrankG
    "...until we get full confidence, I think it may be a good idea to use a little precaution."

    I agree and will restate that so far as I am concerned when it comes to what I put in my body the tenet of "considered safe until proven dangerous" does NOT apply.

    We have too many examples of this such as DDT, asbestos or BPA in plastics.

    I am not a Luddite or against progress but when we already have proven safe alternatives why risk filling your body with a list of unpronounceable and often novel chemicals?

    I don't drink cola anymore but on the rare occasions when I have in the past, I would choose the "full fat" version for this very reason -- its list of ingredients is only half as long as the "diet" version.

    Reply: #11
  11. sten b
    The rule I apply now is simple: "dangerous until proven safe". GMOs are definitely included there, all of them, and Coke and Polar Bears too, of course,
    The GRAS status carries a built in excuse, "generally recognized..".

    I recently read about another study of sweeteners: Link between taste buds and intestines, something like when sweet taste is noticed in the mouth the intestines prepare for it. Cannot recall how it backfired; if CocaCola knows they wont tell; my 2 cents.

  12. Rene
    thank god its safe…. Pleased to hear that ,as I am a regular coke consumer.
  13. Owen E. Carr
    This is ugly. Coca Cola is trying desperately to become part of the “solution” to obesity. It’s like Marlboro trying to look like the solution to lung cancer. The latest ploy? Coca Cola is sponsoring a Brazilian conference on obesity and metabolic syndrome .
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