Want your shocking news of the day? Coca-Cola funds research to not place the blame solely on sugary drinks for the obesity epidemic. Instead, they want consumers to focus on research that points to exercise being the key to losing weight over diet.

Why would a soda company do such a thing? Money. Soda sales are flatlining as people look for the silver bullet to aid in their quest for weight loss.

The organization Coca-Cola has helped fund is the Global Energy Balance Network, whose mission is to promote the idea Americans are too fixated on what they eat and drink and not moving around.

Ummm, I’d make the argument it’s both. But that would involve nuance. Can’t have that.

Here’s the opening frame from Steven M. Blair, the group’s VP, and scientists, in their video announcing the organization.

“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on. And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”

Hey, points for not saying mainstream media, Steven.

I love the names of these organizations. Global Energy Balance Network. There should be prop bets in Vegas on the over/under on how long it took the branding team to come up with that. I bet you could get comped a few Jack and Cokes.

Just an idea Coca-Cola…

How much does a non-profit cost? The company put up $1.5 million to start the organization last year. Someone also didn’t think the registering of the organization’s website through. Gebn.org was registered by Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta. It is also listed at the site’s administrator.

Coca-Cola’s side of the story is they have no control over the work the organization does and are being completely transparent about it. Dr. Blair has said his work and other affiliated scientists is completely independent of Coca-Cola.

Critics have pounced on the organization. They say the evidence is clear dietary intake is key to weight loss, and sugary drinks, such as Coca-Cola, are directly responsible for the rise in obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The controversy comes as efforts to tax sugary drinks to reduce consumption ramps up. Schools are removing the drinks, and initiatives at the state and federal level are popping up to curb the marketing at children.

In the end, Coca-Cola is between a rock and a case of cokes. As a public company, it has to change the message to boost earnings. The problem? No one is buying what they are selling. Cokes or information.

Common sense comes into play. Hitting a daily two-liter of Coke isn’t the recipe for fitness. Smart eating, exercise and overall good lifestyle choices are.


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