It is a well established fact that sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) are an important contributor to the obesity epidemic we are currently facing. Fifteen percent of total energy intake in USA is from added sugar, and sugar sweetened beverages are the largest contributor. The association between SSB intake and obesity in children is particularly strong.
Despite these facts, soft drink giant Coca Cola is working hard to shift our focus away from their unhealthy beverages towards our general societal lack of exercise. Coke has recently teamed up with scientists and has even provided funding to a new non profit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, to spread the message that physical activity can offset dietary choices.
The truth is that it is very difficult to offset poor dietary choices with exercise; this is because it takes a very long time to burn calories with activity, but a very short time to consume a large number of calories. Consider this: a typical person walking briskly for a half hour may burn 140 calories, while a 140 calorie can of Coke can be consumed in seconds. I’m not saying don’t exercise – exercise is important for weight maintenance and has many health benefits. But it is not where the main focus should be in weight loss efforts. Not to mention the critical importance of the multitude of other factors influencing weight balance – psychological, genetics, environmental, and many others.
For all the above reasons, add me to to the list of health care professionals that are speaking out against Coca-Cola’s misleading and frankly irresponsible behavior.