Originally published April 17 2015
Junk food companies buy off health professionals to boost sales of diabetes-causing soda
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In an era where more Americans are discovering that sugary soda and other junk foods are some of the leading contributors to a range of health problems, desperate beverage conglomerates are co-opting health professionals as a means of boosting sales.
As reported by The Associated Press, Coca-Cola officials are now partnering with nutrition and fitness experts who are in turn suggesting that Coke products can be treats, even as the nation has finally gotten a handle on its epidemic of junk-food-related obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiac problems.
The AP further noted:
In February, several of the experts wrote online posts for American Heart Month, with each including a mini-can of Coke or soda as a snack idea. The pieces - which appeared on nutrition blogs and other sites including those of major newspapers - offer a window into the many ways food companies work behind the scenes to cast their products in a positive light, often with the help of third parties who are seen as trusted authorities.
A spokesman for the soda maker, Ben Sheidler, compared those posts to product placement arrangements between companies and television programs.
"We have a network of dietitians we work with," Sheidler, who declined to say how much the company pays experts, told AP. "Every big brand works with bloggers or has paid talent."
The 'everybody does it' defense There are other companies, too, that use similar strategies, including Kellogg and General Mills, each of whom produce GMO-filled sugary breakfast cereals. The campaigns include providing dieticians with continuing education courses, funding studies that tout supposedly nutritional facets of their products and by offering health experts newsletters geared to them.
"PepsiCo Inc. has also worked with dietitians who suggest its Frito-Lay and Tostito chips in local TV segments on healthy eating. Others use nutrition experts in sponsored content; the American Pistachio Growers has quoted a dietitian for the New England Patriots in a piece on healthy snacks and recipes and Nestle has quoted its own executive in a post about infant nutrition," AP noted.
In one Coke-related post in February, the entry referred to a "refreshing beverage option such as a mini can of Coca-Cola." Another recommended "portion-controlled versions of your favorites, like Coca-Cola mini cans, packs of almonds or pre-portioned desserts for a meal."
In a statement to the AP, Coca-Cola said the company wants to "help people make decisions that are right for them" and, like everyone else in the industry, Coke works with health experts "to help bring context to the latest facts and science around our products and ingredients." The company further stated that any communications by the experts it partners with always contain the appropriate disclosures (and quite probably in small print).
But at best, the effort by dieticians to tout sugary drinks as somehow healthy in any portion is disingenuous; at worst it is diabolical.
How can unhealthy foods be healthy? In 2013, for example, NaturalNews reported that "a study of 4,000 ethnically diverse individuals aged 45 to 84 who did not have cardiovascular disease, researcher Christina Shay, PhD found that women who drank two or more sugar sweetened beverages daily were four times as likely to develop higher than average levels of triglycerides compared to those who drank less than one of these beverages per day." The same study found that the women also had more belly fat and higher cholesterol.
Earlier studies, we noted, also found that men were at higher risk of heart attacks if they drank sugary sodas every day; the risk went up with each serving.
A range of studies, for the last decade certainly, have shown time and again that sugary soft drinks boost obesity, especially in children, which in turn leads to higher rates of diabetes and, eventually, heart disease.
Still, there are shill stories like this one and this one that attempt to convince consumers that unhealthy sodas and snacks are - healthy.
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