How the soft drink cartel shapes the message
by Bob Livingston
The soft drink cartel spends millions of dollars a year paying athletes to promote their sugar and sugar substitute-laced sports beverages and vitamin waters. This creates the impression that good health, active lifestyles and consumption of those beverages go hand-in-hand.
A study published in the November 2013 journal Pediatrics found that parents perceived athlete-endorsed products as healthier than non-endorsed products. But the cartel isn’t just buying athletes. It’s also buying medical organizations, dietitians, university academics, medical professionals, fitness experts, authors and chefs.
An initiative by Coca-Cola called the Global Energy Balance Network spent $120 million on grants to medical, health and community organizations in the U.S. over the last five years. Much of it went to pay for “research” and to support health and well-being partnerships. The message that came from the bought research and from the lips and pens of unhealthful “health professionals” was that soft drinks are synonymous with active lifestyles and that lack of exercise — not empty calories and sugars — is a main contributor to obesity.
Exercise is important, and especially so for seniors. But if your goal is maximum health and knocking inches off your waistline, all the exercise in the world will be for naught if you continue downing acidic, sugary beverages.