Archive for the tag - coca-cola

Coca-Cola Removes Flame-Retardant Chemical & Everyone Misses The Point.

mountain_dew_bvo_570Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager from Mississippi, noticed a curious ingredient in some of her sports drinks called brominated vegetable oil or BVO.

BVO is a controversial additive which was generally recognized as safe – that is, until the U.S. Food and Drug administration withdrew that categorization. In the European Union, India and Japan, BVO is banned. Interestingly, BVO has also been patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant. In a nutshell, there are some health concerns for BVO – especially if consumed in very large quantities.

As a result, Kavanagh started petitions on change.org and beverage companies took notice. Last year, PepsiCo announced that it would remove the chemical from Gatorade. This week, Coca-Cola noted that it’s in the process of removing BVO from its entire line of beverages – including Powerade, Fanta Orange and Fresca.

These developments are a great victory for consumer power – but I’m not celebrating just yet. The reality is, BVO or not, soda and sugary drinks are completely unhealthy beverages; they’ve been linked to a number of very serious diseases and conditions like obesity, liver damage, tooth decay, kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and more.

When it comes to the whole discussion of BVO in soda and sports drinks, we’re mistaking the forest for the trees. The reality is, soda and other sugary drinks may be just as harmful as the BVO that’s making headlines.

“Eat healthy and exercise” isn’t an attention-grabbing, headline and it’s not something people want to hear. But talking about healthy lifestyles that combine proper nutrition with physical activity is a far more productive conversation than petitioning to make soda minutely less toxic.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Here’s What Coke’s Billboard Should Really Say…

My Rhode Island home is in the tough part of town. Unemployment is high. Food assistance programs are prevalent. And opportunities are far and few between.

But in contrast to the grey skies and muted color palette of the vacant mill buildings and abandoned factories, a bright new billboard has been erected atop a decaying brick warehouse. Much like the billboard below, it shows Santa drinking a Coca Cola beverage – and it offers a message of hope. “Open happiness,” it says.

Coke Billboard copy

Is it a coincidence that this billboard is in a poor community? Probably not. According to studies, low-income adults get 9% of the daily calories from soda. For high income adults, that number is just 4%. And soda is cheap. In fact, it’s often cheaper than water. It’s why Coca Cola is one of the biggest recipients of SNAP dollars through the federal food assistance program. Moreover, because low income communities have less access to resources and education, this population is likely to be less informed about the health risks of soda consumption.

While the billboard offers a message of hope by linking Coca Cola with happiness, the reality is quite different. Soda consumption has been linked with a number of ailments and conditions including obesity, liver damage, tooth decay, kidney disease, diabetes, heartburn, osteoporosis, hypertension, heart disease and impaired digestion. Doesn’t sound like happiness to me.

As such, I’ve taken the liberty to redesign the Coca Cola billboard in Photoshop to correct for inaccuracies. I hope you enjoy. And happy holidays, Coke.

Coke Billboard Parody1

Coke Billboard Parody2

Coke Billboard Parody4

Coca-Cola’s “Get The Ball Rolling” Fail.

sticker,375x360Earlier this week, Coca-Cola announced an initiative to help people get active and set a goal of inspiring 3 million individuals. According to the press release, Coca-Cola’s “Get The Ball Rolling” effort underscores the company’s global commitments to fight obesity and be part of the solution.

Oh, the irony.

Each year, the average American consumes 43 pounds of sugar from soft drinks alone. If Coca-Cola wants to educate people about health and nutrition, maybe they should publicize the links between refined sugar and violent behavior, fatigue, stiffening of arteries, headaches, depression, skin irritation, acne, hypoglycemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, nervous tension and obesity. Or maybe they should do a public service announcement about how, according to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine.

Coca-Cola’s press release notes that the company offers low or no calorie options in every market. What the press release doesn’t mention is that even artificial sweeteners have been linked to obesity in that they increase cravings for other sugary, unhealthy foods.

The company commends itself for putting caloric information on the front of all packaging. However, Coca-Cola does nothing to educate consumers that not all calories are alike. Unlike the calories in many of the foods we eat, soft drink calories are “empty” and come without any nutritional benefit.

Moreover, the press release goes on to say that the company markets “responsibly.” Coca-Cola and I must have different understandings of marketing responsibly, as a recent billboard near my home featured an Olympic swimmer reaching for a Coke. It implies a connection between Coca-Cola and health that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s reminiscent of those decades-old cigarette ads featuring endorsements by athletes like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.

On one hand, it’s great that Coca-cola wants to help people be active. Getting people to move is a good thing. But on the other hand, if Coca-Cola wants to do something to help improve the health of Americans, it should close its doors and go out of business.

Should Coca-Cola be Allowed to Sponsor the Olympics?

Coca-Cola claims to be the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic games, having paid more than 0 million for the exclusive rights to be the official provider of non-alcoholic drinks at the games.

According to a Coca-Cola spokesperson:

This funding is critical to enable athletes from around the world to train, prepare for, and compete in the Games. Without the support of The Coca-Cola Company and the other worldwide sponsors, as many as 170 of the 200 National Olympic Committees would be unable to send athletes to compete.

I understand that corporate sponsors are necessary to help fund the Olympics, but partnering up with Coca-Cola seems a lot like blood money. While Coca-Cola claims to share the Olympic values of excellence, participation, friendship and respect, this partnership seems a little – forgive the pun – flat.

Yesterday, I was driving down the highway and saw one of Coca-Cola’s Olympic ads. In it, an athletic female swimmer is reaching underwater for a bottle of Coke. With her toned muscles glistening under her team USA bathing suit, the ad seems to imply that drinking Coke is part of a healthy lifestyle. In actuality, drinking Coke is more likely to give you type II diabetes than a gold medal.

In a lot of ways, the Coke billboard reminds me of tobacco advertisements from decades past. Whether it was a photograph of muscled men playing volleyball while smoking cigarettes or endorsements by athletes like Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, the tobacco industry was undoubtedly trying to position their product well in the minds of health-conscious consumers.

Here are the facts: Drinking just one soda a day can equal an extra 25 pounds of weight per year. And sugary beverages are the largest source of added sugar for the average American – equaling about 50% of the typical person’s increased calorie consumption. This leads to obesity, heart disease and, of course, the diabetes epidemic. Some 25.8 million Americans have diabetes and another 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around, we shouldn’t be broadcasting any implied connection between drinking soft drinks and physical health or athletic performance. Make no mistake: Soda is poison for our bodies – and to give Coca-Cola such a high level of visibility at the Olympics seems to fly in the face of that which the games stand for.

BONUS:

Though America’s sugar consumption has dipped in recent years, check out this infographic to see the depth of our problem:

Infographic credit: http://www.onlinenursingprograms.com/nursing-your-sweet-tooth/