Amy Beausang | “Big Beverage” double-deals: “supports” public health while $pending to protect interests
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“Big Beverage” double-deals: “supports” public health while $pending to protect interests

In the words of Alanis Morissette: Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think?

  • A non-profit group whose mission is to “give children a healthy start” withdraws support of soda tax campaigns the same year that it receives a $5 million grant from Pepsi.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics cites “conflicting research” when deciding not to support a 2012 effort in New York to curb the selling of ginormous vats of soda, and in turn accepts nearly $1 million from Coke during 2012-2103.
  • The American Heart Association (AHA) received more than $400,000 from Coke between 2010 and 2015. Oh, yeah–I forgot, it’s FAT and CHOLESTEROL that contribute to heart disease, NOT sugar! My bad. The AHA stated that “To achieve our goals, we must engage a wide variety of food and beverage companies to be part of the solution.” I disagree on this one. To achieve our goals, we need to disengage purveyors of junk food. When we engage them, they fund multi-million dollar studies in efforts to show that we simply need more exercise–and not to worry so much about bad diet–in order to fight obesity.
  • From 2011 to 2015, $10 million per year was spent lobbying against public health measures aimed at curbing soda consumption ($6 million from Coke, $3 million from Pepsi, $1 million from American Beverage Association).

These are just a few of the conflicts of interest that you can read about in this article from NY Times, which covered the study revealing the double-deals by Big Beverage. The study was published Monday in the American Journal of Prevention Medicine.

In it’s defense, PepsiCo points out that it is “incorrectly painted as a ‘soda company,’ when only a quarter of our global revenue comes from carbonated soft drinks.” OK, but let’s look at the other mega-brands purveyed by PepsiCo. Sure, they aren’t carbonated, but they sure can be sugary! Gatorade, Naked Juice (which can actually make soda look relatively healthy in terms of sugar content), Tropicana, SoBe. Check out the PepsiCo brands here if you’re curious.

I guess the shocking take-away from all this, yet again, is that money talks and hushes others up.


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