The title of this post might not actually shock you. It probably comes as no surprise that a big company like Coca-Cola would fund people who support their product. But actually getting the facts of the deviousness and lengths these companies go to can be quite shocking.
Back in 2015 the news of broken that Coca-Cola was creating a group to help fight obesity. All very noble, and it got a lot of publicity.
Basically, the beverage giant funded a group of scientists who are supposedly independent nutrition and weight loss experts. Through “funded research”, the conclusions were (unsurprisingly) very favorable to sugary Coca-Cola.
For example, the scientists made the claim that Americans are too fixated on the volume we eat and drink, and what we drink, when we should be paying attention to exercise. Basically, pushing the blame away from sugar stuffed Coca-Cola, 1500 cal dominoes pizzas, 700 cal tubes of Pringles, all of those culprits were apparently not to blame. It was down to people, and a lack of exercise.
This is the statement from the group’s vice president on creation:
“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific prayers is ‘Oh, they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’, basically blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on. And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the case.”
Now as anyone with a brain can see, that’s pure, highly-filtered bullshit. But Coke literally paid for the guy to say that.
Of course there is evidence that consuming foods high in sugars, fats, carbohydrates, will make you put on weight. It’s not rocket science but if you add those to your diet, and sure, you don’t exercise, you’re going to pack on pounds. That’s why 50% of America is fat. It’s not because they don’t exercise, it’s because they got to fat eating rubbish food to even want to try now.
Veering off at a tangent here, it’s the same disinformation that people put out there about things like SARMs. Selective androgen receptor modulators have been shown to 20 years to not cause any long-term side effects, and to be really good as a bodybuilding supplement. And yet, people still try and ban them, and push scientists away from investigating if they work without side effects or not. It’s far better to leave people in the grips of the big corporations churning out rubbish supplements that make rich people more money.
But back to the Coca-Cola story. The group published two papers to support the ludicrous claims it was making on behalf of Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola funded both papers. They were being paid to research a topic by company they knew was paying their wages, and needed those papers to show that sugary food and drinks isn’t the main culprit for obesity.
Worse, it since come to light through some leaked emails, that Coca-Cola was heavily involved in discussions over the papers and publishing of them. They made comments on improvements, they pushed for changes which were made to the conclusions (which obviously completely undermines any scientific integrity), and they even during that time up to the level of funding. Yes, they basically bribed the scientists at the time and they were criticizing what they were concluding, to help “encourage” those people to come to better conclusions.
How Much Money Is Coca-Cola Putting Into Funding Biased Scientific Research?
In September 2015 Coca-Cola claimed that it spent $119 million funding fitness and health programs from 2010 to 2015. This included payments to the obesity research group, and also to various health and fitness experts who just happened to mention their drinks positively in blog posts, or other media (including social media influencing).
So what you’ve actually got here is $118 million worth of bribes. That’s basically what this boils down to. Every single person who receives money from Coke for this purpose wrote about them positively. It’s a bribe whichever way you look at it.
The bigger problem is that the amount they disclosed was actually wrong. They disclosed $118 million, but probing reveals the total was over $130 million. That’s a lot of cash.
How We Know These Coca-Cola Bride Figures Are True
Now we don’t have figures for up until now, we only have until 2016, thanks to the work of “Right To Know”, a US-based pressure group, working with academics around the world.
What they uncovered was insidious. They analyzed 18,000 leaked emails sent between Coca-Cola, West Virginia University, and the University of Colorado.
It was found that those universities, along with various academics, and other groups and individuals, were basically a front for Coca-Cola. Called the Global Energy Balance Network, its actual purpose, known to the people involved in it, was to favorably mention Coca-Cola in outcomes, and also to downplay the links between obesity and serious disease and the sugary drink.
The premise of this global energy balance network is to look at the energy balance of our bodies, the energy that goes in, against what is spent. But insidiously, rather than focusing on the whole problem, they are focusing solely on energy out, and not how excess energy is put into the body.
Why did Coke do all this?
The reason is simple. They are losing profits. As people get more health conscious, and governments are forced to act, Coke and companies like them, are coming under pressure both to make their drinks healthier, be more open and honest, and on top of that they are facing increased taxation.
By trying to shift the blame away from the drinks themselves towards people’s laziness, they hoped to offset some of this problem they faced.
However, the truth is it takes around 30 minutes of high intensity exercise to burn around 350 cal. Now you could do those 30 minutes of exercise, or you could not drink that 500 mL bottle of Coca-Cola. Which is easier?
That’s the point here, and that’s what Coca-Cola wanted to try and get people to not focus on. In order to lose around a pound a week, you need to eat 500 less calories a day, which is conveniently the equivalent of one bottle of Coca-Cola.
So which is easier? Cutting out the sugary drinks and other crap, or doing high intensity exercise for an hour each day to offset that? It’s a no-brainer, and it’s why Coca-Cola did it.
But now we know the truth, and we simply don’t know what Coke is up to nowadays in this theatre, my advice is simply to cut out the sugary rubbish and go out for a run.