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Coca-Cola and Pepsi caught financing 96 national health groups... financial influence rampant

Soda industry

(NaturalNews) Pepsi Co and The Coca-Cola Company are known for the variety of sugar-laden beverages they peddle, and not much else. In early 2016, Business Insider reported on the continued free-fall of soda sales in the United States. Over the course of 2015, soda sales dropped a whopping 1.2 percent. The year before, sales dropped 0.9 percent – the downward trend has been evident the past several years, but it is clearly picking up steam.

Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been decried as one of our biggest perpetrators of disease; one could say they are something like the Achilles' heel of American health. Amidst the wave of scrutiny, it is no surprise that the industry's largest players are grasping at straws to ensure their profits don't continue to dwindle.

A report published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine affirms that between the years 2011 and 2015, Pepsi Co and the Coca-Cola Company gave money to 96 national health groups – including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The two companies have also lobbied against 29 different public health bills that dared to support improving nutrition.

The report sought to provide insights as how the American food industry has managed to steamroll public health initiatives and pretend that their products are not as damaging to human health as they really are.

Just a few months ago, The New York Times reported that during the 1960's, an American sugar trade group paid off researchers from Harvard to publish research that painted sugar as being healthier than it really was.

Sadly, not much has changed since then. Indeed, many public health experts posit that the two companies are mirroring similar strategies once used by Big Tobacco to help their products save face.

Marion Nestle, a Professor of Public Health and Nutrition at New York University and author of the book Food Politics, told Business Insider, "First, they attack the science. Then, they fund community groups, promote exercise as a solution, and say they're self-regulated and don't need to be regulated by an outside source."

The study's lead authors, both from Boston University, suggest that lessons can be learned from the tobacco industry, which used to give money to a number of sympathetic organizations. Now, however, Big Tobacco would be hard-pressed to find any organization that would be willing to take their money. The researchers state that soda companies should be treated exactly the same way.

The American Beverage Association (ABA) is the soda industry's primary lobbying group, and the organization has invested millions of dollars to prevent their own demise. The ABA spends its money fighting things like taxes and labels for sugary beverages. Just last year, Coca-Cola was under fire for allegedly funding a misleading study that promoted exercise over nutrition and dietary changes for health and weight-loss. The nutrition nonprofit organization that was part of those efforts and funded by Coke is now defunct. Anyone surprised?

Despite the industry's most concerted efforts, the evidence that sugar-laden beverages are not healthy continues to pile up. A systematic review of 50 years worth of data, published by the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, found "strong evidence for the independent role of the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, particularly soda, in the promotion of weight gain and obesity in children and adolescents." More recent research has continued to remain inline with previous findings.

A more recent study that was authored by seven experts in the fields of public health, nutrition, and economics found that the connection between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and disease was quite clear.

As the evidence that sugar-laden beverages and foods are essentially toxic to humans continues to roll in, the soda industry will continue to squirm in their seats and try to buy their way back into the hearts of Americans. Even if public health organizations can't be trusted, independent science will always be there.





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