Well, I guess we should have seen this one coming: Big Soda is fighting back, and they’re going to use “science” (ahem, ahem) as a weapon. (They already sell weapons of mass destruction, of course, but those are generally used to commit a drawn-out suicide.)

First, let’s examine why Big Soda is fighting back. Here’s a quote from an article on LewRockwell.com:

Sales of sugar-laden sodas have been declining steadily for years and the beverage giants are scrambling to reinvent their products and dodge the blame for health risks associated with those products. PepsiCo just announced that it is killing off aspartame in its diet sodas, as consumers, better educated by way of online access and social media, are starting to avoid the industrial food machine’s aspartame and high fructose corn syrup.

And another quote from an article in the New York Times:

“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.”

Soon after Fat Head came out, I engaged in online debates with people who were outraged that I refused to blame McDonald’s for the rise in obesity. The exchanges usually went something like this:

Of course it’s their fault! They draw people in with their advertising and get them hooked on junk food!

I’m sorry their advertising got you hooked on eating at McDonald’s. If only you’d had the willpower to resist the ads.

I’m not talking about me. I never eat at McDonald’s. I’m talking about other people.

The ads didn’t draw you in and get you hooked?  So you’re really just concerned for the stupid people who, unlike you, are powerless to resist the advertising?

I didn’t say that!!

Yeah, you pretty much did.

That’s the mindset of people who believe our decisions are controlled by evil corporations:  we buy what we buy because it’s what the corporations sell.

That’s not how markets work. We don’t buy what they sell. They sell what we’re willing to buy – and all the fancy advertising in the world won’t convince us to buy products we don’t want. If advertising were that effective, New Coke and the McLean burger would have been smashing successes.

So now Big Soda’s sales are tanking — and in case you haven’t noticed, they advertise just as much now as they did 20 years ago. Perhaps more so. But it’s not working.  As an article in Slate Magazine explains:

Consumers have gotten a lot more health-conscious, so they’re fleeing both sugar-packed drinks and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Consumer skepticism has officially replaced New York’s attempted big-drink ban as the biggest threat to the soda industry.

Which is why New York’s attempted big-drink ban was another shining of example of a useless nanny-state regulation dreamed up by The Anointed. Anyway …

So before it’s too late, Coca-Cola is trying to change the narrative. With the best science that money can buy.

How do you get health-conscious consumers to drink Coke? Apparently Coke believes confusing the science will do the trick. From the New York Times article:

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

That’s why you’re fat, America! It’s not the sodas; it’s your laziness. Get off the sofa, get active, then go enjoy those sodas jam-packed with all that yummy high-fructose corn syrup.

The PR campaign includes a video that you can watch on this page.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The bearded dude in the video is one of the scientists now on the Coca-Cola payroll. When I watched the video, I had the same reaction as Karen De Coster, who wrote the article on LewRockwell.com:

The man in the video is Steven Blair, PED, FACSM, a Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. That he’s a mouthpiece for “public health” sends a clear message that he is a paid-for shill for the Industrial Food Machine. And then, am I not supposed to notice, or say, that this Professor of “exercise science” is obese?

Coca-Cola may want to re-think the PR strategy here. They hope to convince us it’s mainly a lack of exercise causing obesity. They’ve got a professor of exercise science saying as much – but he’s clearly a very, uh, large man. So what are we supposed to believe about him? That he knows all about the weight-loss benefits of exercise, but isn’t interested in applying to himself? Shades of Kelly Brownell.

Given that Coke is pumping millions of dollars into this effort, I’m sure it’s tempting to be outraged. Don’t be. The proper response here is a hearty laugh, because Coke may as well pour those millions down the drain. This campaign will be about as effective as the ad campaign for New Coke. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts, and you can keep the donuts.

Some years ago, yeah, maybe the strategy would have worked. That’s because some years ago, information flowed from the top down, through a series of information gatekeepers. Companies like Coca-Cola had the financial muscle, through advertising dollars and otherwise, to give marching orders to many of those gatekeepers.

That’s just not how it works anymore. Not in the days of the internet, social media, and the Wisdom of Crowds. Information flows down, up and sideways. The information gatekeepers are increasingly irrelevant (where they even still exist), and public trust in the “science” presented in Big Media is plummeting. The comments sections of articles promoting grains or low-fat diets are so full of blistering critiques, I’m surprised some news sites even allow comments.

In the final episode of Mad Men, we learned that Don Draper was the advertising genius whose jingle had us all wanting to teach the world to sing and buy the world a Coke. (In the land of TV fiction, that is.) But that was then. Now more and more people don’t even want to buy themselves a Coke – and there’s nothing Don Draper or a bunch of paid shills with PhDs can do about it.

86 Responses to “Big Soda Fights Back”
  1. Bob Niland says:

    re: PepsiCo just announced that it is killing off aspartame in its diet sodas …

    … and replacing it with sucralose, which people are also now starting to avoid, due it being suspect as a gut biome antagonist.

    By the time Big Pop discovers stevia (which Zevia discovered years ago), the crowds may have finally figured out that sweetened canned and bottled beverages need to be avoided for a number of other reasons, regardless of the sweetener. A product that really doesn’t need to exist, can’t really be fixed.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Didn’t know they switching from aspartame to sucralose (Splenda). Yeah, I’d say they’re behind the curve on this one.

    • gallier2 says:

      They already have discovered stevia

      • Tom Naughton says:

        Looks like it’s Stevia and sugar combined.

        • Bob Niland says:

          Zoom-in on Coke Life (US production)

          Carbonated Water
          Makes the drink slightly acidic, which is probably not a big problem. The gas it produces might be more of a challenge for those with acid reflux, GERD, etc. Coke is silent on the source of the water (more below on that).

          Cane Sugar
          Yep, this product is basically flavored sugar water. 24 grams net carb per dose. This is 62% of what’s in a standard Coke, but if you are following a typical VLCHF diet, that’s your entire net carb budget for 1½ meal intervals. Note also: it’s not HFCS or Corn Syrup. “Cane Sugar” is prominent on the front of the can. Coke is responding here to what they think is market demand, which they apparently take to be people easily misdirected.

          Caramel Color
          Burned corn, basically.

          Natural Flavors
          Could actually be unnatural flavors, but are allowed to be called natural flavors if the FDA can be fooled into thinking they are sufficiently similar chemically

          Phosphoric Acid
          This well-known rust remover is mostly harmless, but isn’t something you want to consume in mass quantities. Just two cans of pop a day is associated with doubling the risk of chronic kidney disease.

          Potassium Benzoate
          Another acid. Now I’m actually beginning to wonder what the pH of a Coke is. Meanwhile, keep this stuff away from your Vitamin C, or you might synthesize some benzene, a carcinogen. Coke Life in Europe omits this ingredient, by the way.

          May be natural or synthetic, sez Coke. The readership here probably already has all taken their individual positions on caffeine. I prefer to get mine from coffee.

          Stevia Leaf Extract.
          The final admitted ingredient. Is there actual stevia participation of consequence here, or is this just a token amount just so that trendy Stevia can get co-billing with Cane Sugar on the package? My guess is they’ve only used enough to offset ⅓ of the real sugar.

          Ingredients Not listed

          Non-Native Halogens
          Most pops are manufactured at regional bottling plants, which may be relying on municipal water sources, complete with their load of chlorides and fluorides. Ignoring the popular legacy anti-fluoridation activism, my concern is thyroid impact. Non-native halogens (including bromates in other beverages) compete with iodine at the thyroid. They could easily be a major factor in the pandemic of underdiagnosed and mal-treated hypothyroidism.

          BpA or BpS
          “An extremely small amount of BPA can be found in our aluminum cans.” Cans have plastic liners (have to, or the contents would eat through the walls pretty promptly). Pop bottles are almost all plastic these days (BpA-free PET at Coke). To assess the risk, you need to know what the polymer is, and how it was made and applied. Coke makes no claims of BpS-free for any of their containers.

          Elemental Aluminum (cans only)
          Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, but is naturally bound up in compounds. Isolated elemental Al was a precious metal until just over a century ago. Humans are adapted to the natural compounds. Exposure to elemental Al is novel. Is it problem? The rise in the production of Al during the 20th (see wiki) is a perfect match for the rise in various chronic ailments. Coincidence? Correlation? Causation? Beats me. If you must drink canned beverages, first decant into glass, until the jury returns.

          The precautionary principle asks: do I really need to take a chance on all this stuff?

          Zevia, by the way, omits a lot of the nutrients of concern above, but still has enough be annoying, and it’s way too sweet to me.

          • Tom Naughton says:

            When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound appetizing.

            • Bob Niland says:

              re: When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound appetizing.

              Probably explains why I’m not getting job offers to be an ad copywriter for Big Fizz™.

              There are, of course, any number of hair-on-fire run-away-screaming web sites devoted to each of the ingestibles opined on above.

              People have to make up their own minds on the ingredients of processed food-like substances. Resources for doing that are amazing these days. Crowds will bestow wisdom on you (or simulation thereof) without notice.

              Do people need to do this deep dive homework on everything they eat? Well, what are the alternatives?

              • I choose to do it, and thus have a decent overview of the benefits and hazards of each product.

              • People could just learn the big nasties, and avoid those. Avoiding high net carbs, grains and fake fats, for example, is probably 93.4% of the battle today.

              • People could trust the Big Brands to have a sincere interest the long term health of their customers. Right.

              • Or people could just mimic what their fellow sheep do, and get the same waistlines, chronic illnesses and unhappy final years.

    • Firebird says:

      I have no issues with Sucralose, especially the liquid version which is absent of malto-dextrin, an excitoxin.

      What they need to do is ditch the acesulfame potassium. That stuff is like drinking aluminum foil…leaves a tinny after taste.

    • Gilana says:

      I’d heard they were changing Diet Pepsi but wondered which sweetener they chose. I dislike Sucralose. I get instantaneous “heartburn” from it that manifests *as* I’m swallowing it and then it sticks around a while. I call it my “Splenda heartburn” because it settles higher up in my chest and throat than “regular” heartburn does, for me. I try to avoid sucralose as much as I can, but sometimes I end up drinking it anyway. Good thing I don’t like Diet Pepsi anyway.

      • Tom Naughton says:

        I always thought Splenda tasted lousy, even before I had any concerns about health effects.

        • Crusoe says:

          What sweetener do you use (when you do)?
          Which is the safest? Is erythritol in powder okay?

          We have tons of unbranded lemonades in our local grocery store, and it’s 100% bubbly water with sucralose (tastes great, costs nothing). Are they unhealthy?

          • Tom Naughton says:

            Sucralose is Splenda. I can’t say for sure it’s unhealthy, but it is unnatural. If I want a sweet drink at home, I add a few drops of liquid stevia.

            • Crusoe says:

              We don’t have the Splenda brand, where I live. It’s just generic liquid sucralose sweetener.

              But does “natural” automatically mean healthy? As in, there are naturally poisonous mushrooms. And I’ve read bad things about stevia.

              • Tom Naughton says:

                No, and that’s a point that needs to be raised now and then. Not everything natural is good for us, and not everything produced in a lab is bad for us. It ultimately comes down to the effect on your health, natural or not.

    • Serena says:

      Pepsi is just now getting away from aspartame? I thought that stuff was just another bad memory of the 80s and 90s.

  2. Owie says:

    That dude on the couch. Completely staged. Everyone knows that you eat pringles, THEN the chocolate bars. Not the other way round. (p.s. Mad Men, not Man Men)

  3. Guy Cool says:

    This is a serious question and please don’t take offense but I was watching one of your YouTube videos from 2014 and you look fat, I thought that the LCHF diet helped you lose a lot of pounds, did you gain it back or was that an outdated video or what?

  4. Walter Bushell says:

    See what the really need to do is revert to the original formula, with the cocaine, like perhaps an unfortunate mixup in extracting the flavor from the leaves?

    While it’s not good to argue that his advice is bad *because* he is fat, we have all heard the criticism of Jimmy Moore[1], but the dude is large and Coke could clearly have hired a slim spokesperson. Shows how scarce credentialed people who can deliver the lines convincingly must be. I must admit the dude is a great actor, but seriously the population will discount nutritional information from anyone that obese.

    From what I could see, the guy maybe wheelchair bound.

    [1] Like before he realized that he had to restrict protein too.

  5. Armando says:

    If other scientist and people have figured out that a diet of high carbs make you fat and this Steven Blair the “scientist” says, “we still do not know” he needs to look for another job. All hail the to mighty dollar!

    The sad thing is that in poorer countries, they do not have the luxury of social media and the internet.

    I remember a while back when I use to drink coke, they use to write on their 24 can case of coke, that you really did not needed to drink water, since your body was able to separate the other ingredients in the coke and you still will be hydrated.

    In Australia, our lousy government decided to use Coca-Cola Amatil to distribute aid and need medication in poorer countries since they have a great distribution network that the Australian government cannot match.

  6. Thomas E. says:

    This ad campaign may hold off the decline though. I know many people who continue who grasp onto any confirmation bias they can get!

    I have several friends and colleagues at work who can’t believe their statin loving, exercise more suggesting doctors might be wrong.

    So all it takes is little tid bits like this spread out into the ether help these people keep the notion alive that a calorie is, in fact, a calorie.

    So people can understand (basically) that a calorie of Ethanol is going to be completely different in the body than a calorie of steak, but they quickly fall back to 2000 calories a day is what the body needs, and they get to pick and chose what they do to make up that body count of calories.

    And when you slide into Jonathan Bailor mode, they tilt their head like a dog waiting for you to had over the treat. BTW, we are doing smoothies at home for breakfast now, and when I add in 3 eggs, I am not hungry again until dinner, I do not know how than man can eat the volume of food he does. But I digress, baaaadly 🙂

    And as far as picking the slightly large guy, that slides into the love your body the way it is movement. Remember, they are not trying to reach us, they are trying to reach the g[uy|al] who has 30 or 40 extra lbs and is considering giving up soda. They are creating someone to identify with. Like, hey, he has some weight to lose, and he says it is okay to drink soda, and I really don’t want to give up soda ……..

    I will digress a bit more here, so yeah, I completely agree with the love yourself no matter what size, but, sorry to say, if you are 30 to 300 lbs over weight, YMMV, you are likely unhealthy, your quality of life is likely suffering, you are likely limiting your lifespan, you need to eat better. Sorry, and as I type I was once close to 100 lbs over weight, I now sit about 30-35lbs, and still need to lose more. But, it is still your choice, and yes, the numbers don’t lie, there are some people who are obese that are otherwise perfectly healthy.

    But I believe the masters of spin inside Coca-cola ltd. are smart bastid’s. They are playing this game likely the best way they can, they are going to appeal to their target market, and bolster confirmation bias where ever they can.

    As far as the subset of people who are blessed to be able to consume lots of sugar and not become unhealthy, they are likely going to just ignore all of this, and continue they way they were. They are likely not the ones examining their dietary choices, unless, like my wife, you are connected to someone who is struggling with health. And, since we have both started to be conscious of what we eat, she has not lost a lot of weight, not a lot to lose, but, she feels better, and some of those nagging issues associated with getting older, all of a sudden got better.

    As far as “new coke”, I am personally one of those conspiracy theorists that suggest Coca-cola ltd played the most shrewd game of marketing. As it was, Coke was a drink of choice, take it away, and create a massive pent up demand, possibly only second to the pent up demands created in WWII. In that time they were able to shift tastes with more caffeine and salt. Bring back classic coke, with a bit more salt and caffeine, and Classic Coke reigns king. It is a fairly tale story.

    We had some work done at our house, and almost without question, the workman consumed 3 things in the Texas heat, and in the order of precedence, “Coke”, “Coors Light”, and water.

    BTW, full disclosure, I still drink Coke Zero. And yup, I know it is not good for me, and so on. But my indulgences are buttery popcorn, coke zero, probably too much TexMex (hold the flour tortillas). I consider myself a work in progress 🙂

    And thanks again Tom for all your work. And we are looking forward to your kids book. My 9 year old daughter has watched your movie twice.


    • Tom Naughton says:

      My guess is that the campaign won’t convince any health-conscious people that Coke is actually okay. It may provide comfort for the people who were going to keep drinking it anyway. Now they can tell themselves it’s not so bad after all.

  7. Firebird says:

    I make my own soda. This is how:

    Seltzer Water (or club soda but that seems too heavy for me)
    splash of lemon juice
    splash of lime juice
    Stevia and/or monk fruit extract to taste.

    Instant 7 Up. I’ve also done this by swapping out the lemon and lime and using ginger instead of ginger ale. I only do this in the summer months.

  8. Walter says:

    My nightly cream shake contains a packet of Sweet N Low (saccharine, 365 packets per year!; life span shortened by 45 seconds). I love my Diet Dr. Pepper with aspartame (especially after coming in from mowing). I also love hydrocodone after a visit with my oral surgeon. The fact that I am a chemist might be connected to appreciating chemical synthesis.

    Better Living Through Chemistry (Dupont)

    Along with the animal fat scare, our generation (I am 63) has to take half of the blame. We ran around in the 50s and 60s with no food between noon and 6pm, often skipping lunch. Mom had to threaten us with bodily harm before we finally came inside to eat fried chicken (bacon grease of course).

    Then we, for some odd reason (corporate marketing?), wanted our kids to be able to stuff their faces while at the pool. So, we installed restaurants at the new pools so our little angels could buy, on a daily basis, our rare treats purchased with lawn mowing and babysitting money. The Coca-Colas and Frito Lays of the world loved it, and rightly so. It was the stupid parents who constructed the restaurants; the smart ones resisted for a year and then came around. I am guessing.

    Yes, we also cut out the fat (better living through government chemistry) so our kids would be starving an hour after breakfast (unintentional). Some smart people followed that advice in the same way they follow the advice from corporate marketing.

    It is complicated.

  9. Marie says:

    I love Coca Cola! I love to drink it and I will do stock dividends even more. Heck I even have a bit of a family history with Coca Cola so they always have a fond place in my heart. But honestly Coca Cola come on now, you know better than this… People aren’t going to believe it, I know I most certainly don’t. To Coca Cola: embrace what you are – and please don’t insult my intelligence in the process.

  10. LeeAnn says:

    “Creating a global energy balance network?” What exactly is a global energy balance network? Are other countries going to participate in this ‘global energy balance network’?

    • Tom Naughton says:

      If they buy Coke and then attempt to exercise away the effects of drinking it, I guess they will.

    • Bryan Harris says:

      I bet it gets less participation than Google Wave. If that’s possible.

      And who are these “university people” the guy mentions?

  11. Desmond says:

    The real danger is that this “bad” consume-carbs-and-exercise-alot program will give “good” consume-carbs-and-exercise-alot programs (such as “Play 60” and “Let’s Move”) bad reputations.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      If “Let’s Move” gets a bad reputation, it’s only because it deserves a bad reputation … at least as a weight-loss strategy.

      • Firebird says:

        Our local Fox station has a 10 second voice over into their 5PM newscast, which says, “It’s 5 O’Clock. Did your kids play today?” I actually like this (though their newscasts are a tick below Fox News in over hype), not because of the exercise – diet connection. Rather, they’re kids…they SHOULD be out playing, not tethered to a Playstation.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Agreed. Exercise has a minimal effect on weight loss, but it’s great for all kinds of other reasons. And for kids, it’s probably best if they consider it play, not exercise.

  12. Josh says:

    I wonder how soon before Coca-Cola and Pepsi start pushing a mineral water or a flavored seltzer. I read an article not too long ago that sales of LA Croix have skyrocketed over the past several years.

  13. Stephen T. says:

    Tom, advertising may have little influence on the type of people who read blogs such as this, which I much appreciate, but we’re still a small minority. I agree that Coke’s campaign will fail because it’s not credible. However, many campaigns are better targeted, particularly in relation to fruit and fruit juice.

    Sales of fruit juice in the UK have declined slightly for the first time in many years because of concern about the high sugar content amongst better informed people. That’s a small step in the right direction, but it’s going to be slow progress because fruit juice is covered with health messages and backed up by advertising.

    Last week I was in the café of my health club after swimming. A young girl aged about ten walked in to the café with her parents. The young girl had a huge bloated face and was obese. I find obesity in children a particularly sad sight because they’re almost certainly facing a lifetime of problems. In our image-conscious world I don’t think any child wants to be fat. The girl was waiting for an exercise class and was given a bottle of fruit juice to drink whilst she waited. A few minutes later her parents bought her another bottle and commented that fruit juice is healthy. Each bottle contained 30 grams of sugar, so that’s a total of 15 tea spoons of sugar consumed. There’s no way her class would exercise those calories away and no doubt there’d be more juice at home later because it’s ‘healthy’. I’d say advertising has worked in this case.

    I frequently see adults who are trying to do the right thing make terrible choices through ignorance and idiotic Government guidance on low fat diets. The advice to diabetics to eat carbs is unforgivable.

    You clearly don’t want the Government telling you what to do, but where do you draw the line? Would you allow soda to be sold in schools? Would you stop high-sugar products making health claims? Shouldn’t better labelling be required, such as giving sugar quantities in tea spoons and not grams?

    Do we completely abandon the less well informed to be manipulated by the likes of Coke?


    • Tom Naughton says:

      The obese girl wasn’t drinking juice because of advertising. She was drinking it because her parents probably believe it’s a good choice, thanks more to government recommendations than to advertising. There’s a reason the makers of bacon and sausage don’t promote either as health food, even though both are far better than a big ol’ glass of fruit juice. They’d run smack up against government guidelines.

      If we don’t want to “abandon the less informed to be manipulated,” what’s the alternative? More government nanny-statism? We’ve already seen what putting dietary advice in the hands of government looks like.

      We are much better off leaving government out of the equation and allowing the power of information to influence people. The word will spread — and yes, the better-informed will change their minds first, but the crowd will eventually follow. Some people will knowingly made bad choices because they prefer pleasure over health. I’m fine with that. It’s not up to me or anyone else to tell them what choices they must make.

      • Firebird says:

        Maybe it was the parents that got suckered by the advertising?

      • Bob Niland says:

        re: There’s a reason the makers of bacon and sausage don’t promote either as health food, even though both are far better than a big ol’ glass of fruit juice. They’d run smack up against government guidelines.

        The FDA is pretending they haven’t yet got the memo regarding the epic changes creeping in with DGA 2015. If today you have a healthy level of healthy fat in your product, you will be persecuted for putting the word “healthy” on the package:

        This is likely why there are no acceptable meal replacement or proper keto bars on the market. There are safe snacks (Quest bars, but only some of them), but they are all too low in fat.

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Yup. In “The Big Fat Surprise,” Nina Teicholz describes how food manufacturers end up spending billions to re-formulate foods when the FDA declares this-or-that amount of a nutrient to be “healthy.”

        • Maria J says:

          Bob, thanks for the link to the Kind bar article. I am always on the lookout for healthy bars for my husband. He works construction and appreciates easy and good tasting. I recently tried Kind bars and they are delicious, was not so impressed with Quest bars. Costco is a good source for wanna be Paleo but still pretty high in sugar.

          • Bob Niland says:

            re: … Kind bar article. I am always on the lookout for healthy bars for my husband.

            Please don’t mistake my link for an endorsement. In my view, Kind bars are a bit too high in net carbs (15 grams and up), and use too many shady ingredients (“honey”, sugars, rice, just to name a few).

            Quest is not perfect, but I will eat some of them. Details at:
            (Note: you’ll be able to read that, but it’s otherwise a subscription site)

            I also keep an eye on the bar market, and it’s depressing.

            Perhaps of interest to FHM fans, Julian Bakery has introduced a line of bars apparently designed to nibble some Quest market-share. Apart from considerations of business ethics and management immaturity, I’ve heard one credible report that they don’t taste very good. Also too low in fat.

      • Stephen T. says:

        Tom, adults can make whatever choices they like and should always be free to do so. My questions were about children.

        Government has discredited itself in this area, but do you really think the not too bright parents of the obese little girl took more from the Government guidelines than the sort of advertisement Firebird attached? Most people never look at an official guideline, but they see the messages that the food industry puts out. It’s not a neutral situation at all, where people are simply left to make up their own minds. I’d be happy with that. But Coke, and others, are spending hundreds of millions to influence children in the wrong direction, so do we just leave it to them?

        You didn’t answer the questions about where you’d draw the line in schools etc.?

        • Tom Naughton says:

          As you may have seen in other comments, the FDA is quite stringent about what health claims it allows in ads. So if sugary fruit juice is being advertised with health claims, that’s with the blessing of government. If you try to advertise a fatty food as healthy, they’ll slap you down.

          Parents don’t have to fall into the “not too bright” category to believe fruit juice is good for kids. When my daughter was a wee one, the pediatrician recommended getting her onto garbage like apple juice and Cheerios as a transition from breast-feeding. That was before I did any research for Fat Head, and we followed that advice. I’m no more natively intelligent now than I was then. I’m just better informed now.

          A few years ago, Chareva and I were grocery shopping and ran into a woman whose son was in our daughter’s class. She told us she was going to make her son play outside more because he’d been getting fat. I looked in her cart and saw whole-grain bread, skim milk, jugs of apple juice, pasta, low-fat this, low-fat that, etc. She was a bright woman and a caring mom being misled by government-approved advice.

          As for sodas in schools, I think it’s a bad idea. I also think it’s none of the federal government’s business what my local school in Franklin, Tennessee chooses to offer to kids, including what to serve for lunch. That should be up to the local school board. They should decide where to draw the line, not The Anointed in Washington, DC.

          • j says:

            I hope I’m around to see all the class action suits against gov (and doctors I suppose) for giving bad nutritional advice that led to mass chronic disease…although, gov will probably worm its way out of them..immunity or something..

            • Tom Naughton says:

              They’ll probably employ a version of the “state of the art” defense: we couldn’t have known this would cause damage based on the knowledge available at the time.

  14. tony says:

    Coca Cola was invented to deter the masses from consuming alcohol. Seems like the “cure” was as bad or worse than the illness.

  15. Galina L. says:

    It is what the people who believe in counting calories say all the time – there is no food to avoid, but you have to “balance” what you ate with exercise, also, avoiding some foods may lead to an anxiety and even eating disorders.

    • Galina L. says:

      I just want to add for some clarification, that I disagree with the idea that a soda consumption could be a part of a healthy diet even for a calories counter, and I observed too many people who tried to compensate with exercising their junk food eating to believe it could be a good idea. Besides, unfortunately, serious exercising and injuries are parts of one package. While it is wrong to sit all the time, exercising too much is not a good idea as well. It leads to wear and tear of a human body.

      • Tom Naughton says:

        A chiropractor once told me that middle-aged over-exercisers were her best customers.

        • Firebird says:

          I know a chiropractor who is eternally grateful for the person who invented Crossfit.

          • Tom Naughton says:

            The gift that keeps on giving?

            • Becky says:

              My friend’s orthopedic surgeon told her that trail runners were her best customers.

              • Tom Naughton says:

                I’ve heard runners are a great source of income for surgeons, chiropractors, etc.

                • Galina L. says:

                  Tom, I am almost your age, and it consernes me that nowadays an unnatural amount of people involved into a sport activity which is unsuitable for their age (me too, and especially my husband). BTW, it is not paleo if somebody is concerned about following a paleo life-style, for primitive people getting older was a natural way of life. While we all have to avoid prolonged sitting, we have to be careful about the amount of cardio and high-impact activities, especially while getting older. Overtraining is on the rise. In the light of it, it is not a good idea to create a situation when we have to move more in order to compensate for eating some junk.

                  • Tom Naughton says:

                    I agree. I’ve had young, fit, athletic types tell me how I need to get into CrossFit … I say thanks for the suggestion and let it go at that. I’m 56, I was never athletic, and I have a knee and a shoulder that required surgical repair. CrossFit would likely just hurt me in a big way at some point.

                    • Galina L. says:

                      I will be 55 at the end of the year. I think your farm activity is protective – it doesn’t leave you with enough energy to over-burden yourself with age-inappropriate hobbies like going to a cross-fit gym. However, I don’t think that just moving around is enough. My 78 yo mom recently became a gym member and hired a personal trainer, even though she lives on a 4-th floor without elevator and doesn’t have a car. I wish everybody would be doing yoga and sitting on a floor from time to time.

                    • Tom Naughton says:

                      The farm work can be heavy-duty at times, but I still do a slow-burn workout with weights once or twice per week.

  16. Ulfric Douglas says:

    “Coke MILK”
    Nuff said.
    I’ll go read the other comments now.
    I expect a cheque from Coca-Cola forthwith kthx.

  17. Janknitz says:

    Almost everyone I know believes that exercise is the key to losing and maintaining weight. Soda companies are just playing into that belief. I once saw a motivational billboard the said “the best goals are those 75% achieved when set”. That’s all these companies are doing–bringing it all the way home that you can run off that Coke.

    On a recent week-long car trip we stop at fast food places (choosing carefully!). I am seein more people choose water, but plenty of soda is still being sold. (I like unsweetened ice tea with a squirt of lemon, myself).

  18. Becky says:

    A group of neighbors and I managed to stave off Verizon’s plan to put a “stealth” cell tower LITERALLY (around 125 feet from homes) in the backyards of several of us. Verizon claimed no one would know what the 50-foot-tall, 3-feet-wide object was, so it wouldn’t negatively impact home values. RIGHT!

    People have to start thinking. That’s Ben Carson’s mantra right now. USE YOUR BRAINS, PEOPLE! I like it.

    Agonizingly, though, I learned that it is NOT LEGALLY POSSIBLE to keep a cell tower from locating near homes, based on health concerns. BECAUSE NO HEALTH CONCERNS HAVE BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN.

    I hope the connection to sweeteners, obesity, and health is in there somewhere. It was when I started to write …

  19. Todd says:

    As long as you chase soda with some healthy, natural OJ you’ll be good. It will counteract the harmful effects. lol

    Btw I went to law school at Costco (idiocracy).

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