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New negative calorie 'Enviga' soda falsely advertised and may actually make some people fatter, charges CSPI

Friday, March 09, 2007 by: M. T. Whitney
Tags: Enviga, soft drinks, health news

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(NewsTarget) A new soda claiming it reduces calories was doubted to be effective upon its official release in October 2006, and now a public nutrition and health advocacy group is suing over false advertising. The soda is called Enviga, a caffeinated green tea-flavored soda conceived jointly between Coca-Cola Co. and Nestlé S.A. of Switzerland.

When launched, Coca-Cola called it "the drink proven to burn calories" in an October 11, 2006 press release. Drinking three cans will let you lose 60 to 100 calories, the companies said. However, at the time, no publicly available evidence supported these claims; the first public release of the clinical study done by Nestlé was published February 2 as a partially paid advertisement in the journal Obesity.

Enter the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest.

On February 1, the CSPI filed suit against the pair of beverage kings in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, stating that the companies made the claims without adequate facts to back them up. The lawsuit questions the three-day research study used - which utilized 31 test subjects aged 18 to 35, all with a healthy body mass index - and its results.

Discussing the results of the clinical study, the CPSI said in a press release, "Most expended slightly more calories after drinking Enviga, but Coca-Cola and Nestlé didn't disclose publicly that the drink's ingredients had the opposite effect in a significant number of the study participants" - equaling six people, or almost one-fifth of the study group.

"These mass-marketed negative-calorie beverages are a nutritional joke," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of The Five Soft Drink Monsters, a book that teaches people how to cut out soda from their diet. "In my opinion, it's all a clever marketing ploy, backed by junk science, designed to sell consumers false hope for weight loss through unhealthful, high-profit beverages that are dangerously acidic due to their phosphoric acid content."

Lona Sandon, the national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, holds a similar view.

"We are kidding ourselves if we think we can drink this and melt the pounds away. These companies are just playing on people's desires for a quick fix for weight loss. This won't make up for a poor diet and lack of exercise, and this amount of caffeine could even cause problems for people who are sensitive to caffeine," she told Reuters news service.

Enviga, marketed against teas like AriZona and Lipton, contains more than triple the amount of caffeine compared to these teas and almost as much caffeine as a Red Bull energy drink, according to nutritional statistics on Enviga's official website.

The CSPI has said that it would drop the lawsuit if the makers of Enviga drop the "negative calorie" claim.

Resources you need to know

• Center for Science in the Public Interest (http://www.cspinet.org)

• American Dietetic Association (http://www.eatright.org)

• Enviga (http://www.enviga.com)

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