If you’re trying to lose weight, the conventional wisdom is always “eat less, exercise more.” There’s also the adage that real weight loss is 95 percent diet, and 5 percent exercise. That figure is based mostly in math and science — about 96 percent of your caloric expenditure every day is to keep you breathing, so spending 4 percent of your day running on a hamster wheel and then eating sugar-laden foods like Coca-Cola isn’t going to shed the pounds. (Exercise is important, though, so don’t neglect that 4 percent, either.)
Coke has decided to help the obesity crisis by recommending you do exactly the opposite of everything that has ever been written about a healthy lifestyle. They’ve done this by funding Global Energy Balance Network, a new non-profit that thinks Americans are way too obsessed with diet, and not obsessed enough with working out.
Steven N. Blair, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, more or less confirms this line of thinking:
Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on. And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.
Right! Except for all the evidence that taking in more calories than you burn is in fact the actual way you gain weight.
This is in part Coca-Cola’s attempt to stop the sales losses they’ve been experiencing lately due to Americans realizing they probably shouldn’t fill baby bottles with Dr. Pepper, and maybe infographics like this one that seem to confirm too much sugar is bad for you. “Sugar taxes” on the purchase of pop hasn’t helped, either. Over the last twenty years, in fact, soda consumption has dropped 25 percent in the United States.
In fact, according to the New York Times, not only has Coke given almost $4 million to Dr. Exercise Science quoted above (and another doctor, Gregory A. Hand, dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health), but they own and administer the Global Energy Balance Network’s website.
GEBN’s president, James O. Hill, responds:
“They’re not running the show, we’re running the show.”
Allegedly no one at Global Energy Balance knew how to set up a GoDaddy account, and they let Coke headquarters in Atlanta do it for them.
Whomever’s updating the website, the message is still clear: Coke totally thinks you should keep drinking Coke, all the way through your next amputation surgery due to type-2 diabetes.
Here are the smiling faces of the three dudes who claim to be running the show: Steven N. Blair, James O. Hill, and Gregory A. Hand:
Look, one of them even has a bow tie. That’s all the assurance you need to stop worrying about whether Fanta was made for Nazis and instead spend 3-5 more hours on the elliptical, working off that double-double with cheese.
But seriously, Dr. Hill just wants you to know that you don’t have to eat like a bird to lose weight.
‘Eat less’ has never been a message that’s been effective. The message should be ‘Move more and eat smarter.’
That actually is pretty much what the message should be, and unfortunately “eat smarter” includes “not drinking Coca-Cola constantly,” which I’m sure is not the kind of suggestion Coke was hoping to buy for its money.
(via New York Times)