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Negative calorie foods

Coca-Cola jumps on green tea bandwagon, launches Enviga beverage with negative calorie claims

Thursday, October 12, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: negative calorie foods, Coca-Cola, green tea

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(NewsTarget) On Wednesday, soft drink giant Coca-Cola announced its new carbonated, "negative-calorie" green tea product Enviga, to be produced in partnership with Nestle.

Coca-Cola has said three 12-ounce servings of Enviga will burn 60 to 100 calories in healthy 18-35-year-olds, with the beverage's 5 calories per serving lending credibility to the negative-calorie claim. Spokespersons for Coca-Cola said the company is backing up its claims with a study to be released before the drink is marketed.

The study observed a number of test subjects in a metabolic chamber (used to depressurize divers) after they consumed three Envigas and a set diet over a 24-hour period. According to Coca-Cola's chief scientist Dr. Rhona Applebaum, the subjects burned 106 more calories after drinking Enviga than when they drank regular green tea. Applebaum added that Coca-Cola is not exaggerating claims. "This is not a magic bullet," she noted.

Marie-Pierre St. Onge, assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Alabama, said the company's claims were realistic, because Enviga speeds up the metabolism of those that consume it through its combination of caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate -- also known as EGCG -- and studies have shown that large doses of these two substances can increase metabolism and use up more calories than water alone.

"It was only a matter of time before the Coca-Cola Company latched onto this consumer trend," explained Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and Coca-Cola critic. "This is the same company that once fought against water, and then later introduced its own bottled water product. Now it's releasing a green tea product with extra caffeine, making it an addictive stimulant beverage.

"While the green tea ingredient is, by itself, a healing substance with many beneficial properties, I do not believe Coca-Cola is interested in the healing properties of green tea as much as they are profiting from the shifting tastes of consumers who are increasingly rejecting Coke's flagship sugar water beverages," he added.

Evidence suggests Coca-Cola may be relying on Enviga to boost sales, as the company is behind Pepsi, Arizona and Snapple in the ready-to-drink tea market, which is a major issue considering cold tea was the fastest growing non-carbonated beverage for the first half of 2006, according to Beverage Digest.

Enviga is set to hit store shelves in Philadelphia and the New York-New Jersey metro area by Nov. 6; be available nationally in February; and reach South America, Europe and Asia later next year.

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