Is Coca Cola the solution to the obesity epidemic?

So Coca Cola just launched an ad campaign called “Coming Together”. In the 2-minute ad they claim to want to work together with the American people to find solutions to the obesity epidemic. They call it “the issue of this generation”.

To me it sounds as silly as if Big Tobacco would launch an ad campaign to stop an epidemic of lung cancer.

Coca Cola says that just 3 in 4 of their drinks are full of sugar – they also have low calorie options today. Like Big Tobacco with their light cigarettes and filtered cigarettes. Yes, Big Sugar is following in the footsteps of Big T.

Sorry Coke. You are not the solution, you’re making more kids fat every day. No PR video will change that.


Top comments

  1. As long as we focus on calories, fake food has a nice safe market no matter how many undigestible harmful chemicals they use to get that "diet" version.
    Read more →
  2. Janknitz
    Dr. McDougall thinks that Coke is better than milk because milk has fat in it!

    What a crackpot!

    Read more →

All comments

  1. As long as we focus on calories, fake food has a nice safe market no matter how many undigestible harmful chemicals they use to get that "diet" version.
  2. Daniel Ferreira
    The cause of the problem is also the solution?

    LoLing right now.

  3. FrankG
    Where did I see something recently about how Coca Cola had voluntarily NOT advertised "directly" to children for the last several decades? ROFL

    I take this as a good sign... they realise that the jig is up and it is only a matter of time :-)

  4. Berit

    I noticed that CC has included Stevia in this short advertisement...isn't that a good sign too?

  5. Zepp
    Coke keeps you thin! (1961 Coke commercial)

  6. What a silly and transparent commercial! - Dr Jeff
  7. Janknitz
    Dr. McDougall thinks that Coke is better than milk because milk has fat in it!

    What a crackpot!

  8. Consider what the advertising by CC in Australia might soon be. Two individuals heavily involved in testing and promoting the GI Index (which promotes sugary foods like Nestle Milo (46.4% sugar), Betty Crocker’s chocolate cake with frosting (48 gm sugar per slice) and Uncle Toby’s Choc Chip Crunchy Museli Bar (20% sugar) as good choices for diabetics, recently published an article suggesting that there has been a decrease in refined sugar consumption in Australia over the last 30 years (discredited by experts) and that obesity rates have risen in the same period. These people have even proposed that reductions in sugar intake may have contributed to the rise in obesity! What could food manufacturers make of this rubbish?
  9. Kerri
    Anyone else notice there was only one shot of someone who was overweight? I think it was the kid with the jump rope... Everyone else was perfectly fit and healthy looking.
  10. FrankG
    Regarding reports of "reduced sugar consumption" it is always worth remembering that: in nutritional terms, "sugar" only refers to the so-called "simple" monosaccharides and disaccharides -- these are commonly: glucose, fructose, sucrose and HFCS (glucose + fructose), or lactose (galactose + glucose).

    In N. America, when you look at the nutritional labels: only the Total Carbohydrates, the "sugar" and fibre are listed. It often turns out that the grams of Sugar, plus the grams of Fibre do not equal the Total Carbohydrates The remaining portion (which for some reason we are left to work out for ourselves, if at all) is the "Starch".

    Starches are also Carbohydrates but in longer chains as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides -- these are the so-called "complex" Carbohydrates, or at least they would be if they came from natural whole food. I think the reasoning goes that these are not so easily digested except that...

    Maltodextrin is a man-made, refined "starch" (made up of chains of Glucose) that is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as Glucose BUT it does not count (on the label, or in the statistics) as a "Sugar"...

    So immediately you might see how to "hide" the sugar in a product by reducing the Sucrose and/or HFCS while bumping up the Maltodextrin...

    and Maltodextrin is just one example of a refined starch that really should be classed as sugar

    BUT it gets even more devious: because ingredients must be listed in order of greatest to least volume, or weight -- plus there is some wiggle-room where you can claim "zero" if below a given threshold AND there is an acceptable "margin for error"...

    So now let's play a game of "hide the sugar": start by reducing the Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose and Lactose in your recipe BUT more than make up for that by increasing the amount of refined starches (like Maltodextrin) -- all the sweetness (and potential for addictive qualities) but with "less (or even zero) added sugar!" AND instead of just adding a lump amount of one refined starch which would appear higher on the list of ingredients, use smaller amounts of several so that they are listed lower down and mixed in with the other unpronounceable ingredients on the label.

    Of course this is where the naysayers cry "conspiracy theory!"... to which I reply "No... just good for business" :-)

  11. The way I see it is that no matter what they put into Coke or take out of it, it will always be sweet and you will always crave sweet things, so if your daily dose of Coke isn't around you reach for the cake instead.
  12. Joe
    Coke is not the problem, misinformation is. You can not blame a product for what is ultimately a choice. If people truly realized the harm of excessive sugar intake, I'm certain coke would be consumed far less often. Presenting the proper information is the only way to solve the problem. Sugar and carbs are a treat, not a staple to a good diet.
  13. FrankG
    So Braden seems to be saying that sweet cravings are inevitable and our only choices are either coke or cake?

    And Joe is suggesting that advertising does NOT work?

  14. Joe
    Not at all, but the fact of the matter is, I see ads for coke and cereal all the time. Even dieting programs or websites for adultery. But I make the choice of what to buy/do for my family with the information I am given. Having the proper information allows me to make the proper choice. With proper information, advertising is far less effective.
  15. FrankG
    So we leave things as is while we try to get the word out? Where will the money come from for disseminating this information? So far as I can see the soft drinks folks have more than the government, or other agencies, for this kind of thing... and meantime how many more children will be damaged by excess sugar and refined starches?

    Not to mention that we are dealing with an arguably addictive substance. Caffeine clearly fits this description and sugar does also, according to, what appears to be, a growing number of sources.

    Belinda Gates (Bill's wife) has a TED talk about how the charity food and health organisations could learn a thing or two from Coke; which has a far better distribution network to remote villages in developing countries than they do.

    Please don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer in education as the key to so much that is wrong with human society... I am just not convinced that it is the immediate answer "in the meantime".

  16. Justin B
    "Only" 75% of their products are filled with sugar? How is that a positive health claim?
  17. and the other 25 percent have salt and exorphins that will knock me and you out of ketosis anyway. It is an dangerous add because the young and none food/issue people get sucked in. There are 40 percent of the thins that have visceral fat in a major way. Coke is the problem, along with all the other sugar pushers.
  18. Wade Henderson
    Nothing wrong with having a few Cokes here and there. For people with normal health, having a 8 to 12 ounce Coke, once or twice a week was no problem. Growing up in the 50's and 60's, most kids I knew would get a 8 ounce bottle of Coke about once each week. Lucky kids would get 2.

    Most of us grew up during those years without excess weight.

    Things have changed. One to two Cokes a week has turned into one to two Cokes a day.
    Plus Hi-C, and the avalanche of fruit "drinks" and they are now consumed along with a Super-sized fast food order.

    Just saying, nothing wrong with having a Coke once a week.
    BTW, Coke is a quality product as that type of drink goes. Forty years ago I worked a couple summers at various bottling plants (the union would send us out as needed). Coca Cola plants were the best in the industry. Also, I traveled the world for many years and I always could trust Coca Cola products to be safe no matter how many hours I was from any civilization. In fact in certain locations where I couldn't even trust the boiled tea, I would get Fanta sparkling water and drink about 6 or 7 a day.

    Coke, the product, isn't bad when not abused. However, Cokes marketing leads to abuse.
    In Alameda California there is a large Safeway. I marveled at the drink aisles. I stepped off the length of shelving devoted to soft drinks, canned coffee drinks and such (not juice or dairy drinks).
    I counted the lenght and # of shelves high. Total shelf space for the soft drink type category was
    900 feet. Amazing. By contrast, the Trader Joes next door had about 60 to 80 feet of shelf devoted to the same drinks (not including juice)

  19. And it's great to know that Coca Cola are there alongside General Mills, Hershey, Pepsi, Unilever and others supporting the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietics.

  20. Third Chimp
    So Coke doesn't market to kids (according to Coke) ?
    This is illuminating on that score, to say the least
  21. bill
    This is from the U.S. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

    "Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbohydrates."

    Well, there you have it from the largest group of dietitians in the country. I just don't think they have the studies to back up this notion.

  22. American Dietary Goals and Australian Dietary Guidelines have advocated restricting the intake of fats for over 30 years. That's an entire food group. Is the Academy saying that we should avoid low fats diets? I hope so because there was no evidence for health benefits of low fat diets then or now.
  23. Wade Henderson
    "American Dietary Goals and Australian Dietary Guidelines have advocated restricting the intake of fats for over 30 years."

    The statement was ""Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbohydrates."

    "eliminates or severely restricts"

    I'd hardly call a goal of 30% of calories as fat, being "severe". The average person out there, not even trying to diet, is eating about 38-40% of calories as fat. Aiming for 30% is just a tweak.
    Heck even the biggest "low-fat" studies ended up with the "low fat" group above 29%.
    The biggest problem with those low fat guidelines was the way they drove up the consumption of worthless refined carbs and sugars. The "Snackwell Effect" leading to great leaps in obesity and diabetes.

  24. If Coke is the answer, then the question must be How do you keep poisoning yourself?
    Coca Cola just keeps coming out with fake "health" drinks that are same old sugary junk, and making claims that are false and/or misleading to many people who don't spend the time we who visit this blog do on health concerns.

  25. Lisa
    "I'd like to teach the world to sing
    In perfect harmony
    I'd like to buy the world a Coke
    And keep it company
    That's the real thing."


  26. The hypocrites lol They caused the obesity epidemic :D

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