Archive for the tag - rant

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.

Heart Attack Grill: Celebrating Gluttony?

Last night, I caught a few minutes of the nightly news. In a segment, they featured a newly-opened Las Vegas restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill. The menu is loaded with ultra-high calorie options (a meal can contain upwards of 8,000 calories) and, in an effort to be tongue-in-cheek, the building is modeled after a hospital. Even the waitresses are dressed as nurses.

The owner of Heart Attack Grill, Jon Basso, talks about the restaurant as a celebration of gluttony but maintains that it’s all in good fun. Indeed, life is a lot more enjoyable with a sense of humor – but is our obesity epidemic really a laughing matter? With 1 in 4 deaths caused by heart disease, and with 785,000 Americans having their first heart attack each year, I’m having a tough time seeing the joke.

In fact, Blair River, a 575-pound man and spokesman for one of Basso’s previous restaurants, died last march of obesity-related illness. Making a joke out of such a serious – and deadly – issue is, at best, in poor taste. And if we want to laugh at ourselves, weight issues and the obesity problem in this country, let’s do it in way that illuminates solutions rather than celebrates the problem.

In a way, making intentionally and dramatically poor nutritional choices – like the “flatliner fries” cooked in pure lard or a milkshake made with butter – is a defilement of our human bodies. Our bodies crave nourishing foods – and a “quadruple bypass burger” with four patties and eight slices of cheese is far from that.

Lest we forget that we only get one body in this experience of life, it’s important to treat it with respect, honor and love – rather than cramming four-days worth of calories down our throat and flooding our system with artery-clogging fat. As anyone who has lost a loved one to heart disease can attest, that America is dying of obesity is an epidemic – and not a joke.