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How is Coke Fighting Obesity?

If you were to informally poll reasonably informed Americans about what exactly were the causes of the lasting obesity epidemic in this country, more pointedly, who in the world of corporate foods was to blame, the list would probably be something like McDonald’s, Hostess, and probably Coca-Cola.

The logic around this has to do with something to do with the fact that these companies (and there are many others guilty of the same thing) peddle all sorts of calorie-dense, nutritionally-vacant, goods that American love just a bit too much. These products are leaving people fat, unhealthy and riddled with health problems including obesity. While McDonald’s is holding on to its bit of fast food market share, and Hostess is being dissolved like a Twinkie in a nuclear holocaust, Coca-Cola is doing what it can to mitigate the PR disaster that is our nation’s current obsession with health and obesity.

The way the Coca-Cola Company is addressing this is with a persuasive new public service advertisement that positions the company as fighting alongside concerned Americans as a sort of brother-in-arms. With this new ad, the company offers up the idea that it is providing “solutions” to the current obesity epidemic with their diet drink portfolio, charitable contributions to fitness programs and by insisting that if you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.

They attempt to equal the caloric playing field with this statement, “All calories count. No matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories.” This statement implies that a fistful of almonds or celery is just as good as a 12-ounce can of Coke, as long as you exert the energy to burn off the calories consumed. (See the advertisement above.)

The one of many problems with this corporate logic is the convenient glossing over of what constitutes a nutrient-rich calorie, and what is just an empty calorie. To be sure, a serving of Coke is the definition of empty calories.

Sure there are other problems with this sort of feel-good, “we are all on the same team” propaganda, and I am willing to give the Coca-Cola Company some credit for not wholly ignoring the issue, but aren’t they just really serving their own interests on this one? Couldn’t they do more to clean up their product line, offer some real nutrition, and promote healthy living outside of their corporate interests? What are your thoughts on this new campaign?

Read more: Blogs, Diet & Nutrition, Drinks, Eating for Health, Fitness, Following Food, Food, Health, Obesity, , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

56 comments

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5:29PM PST on Mar 1, 2013

"Things go better with Coke." Hmmm.

1:25PM PST on Feb 23, 2013

They're not trying to do anything but sell more product. In Australia they're trying to stop us from having a national return the can system.

4:45PM PST on Feb 22, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

11:49PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

thanks

12:08PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Drinking any kind of soda is bad for your health.

7:20AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Just like drunks fight alcohol?

5:20AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

People, PLEASE! Regulate yourself. Personally, I prefer tap water. MY CHOICE!

8:42PM PST on Feb 14, 2013

Did you know that Coca-Cola is 122 years old?

No wonder it has been starting to taste bad!

7:25AM PST on Feb 12, 2013

I enjoy Coke and other soft drinks, but I limit them to the occasional treat, and make my main drink plain tap water. The zero sugar soft drinks taste foul IMO, so I'd rather have the occasional real soft drink than guzzle sugar free drinks all day. It is not Coke's job to stop us getting fat. It is our job to take responsibility for our own choices.

6:38PM PST on Feb 10, 2013

Something is better than nothing

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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