A Funding Bias

By Dean L. Jones

This week a number of media outlets put Coca-Cola on blast for its million dollar sponsorship of a science-based research and preferred outcome in addressing America’s obesity problem.  The general results desired by Coca Cola from this study is to show how in order to maintain a healthy weight a person needs to regularly work out, and stress less about cutting calories.

This Coca Cola funded bias outcome added another dimension by working hand-in-hand with scientists supporting them both financially and logistically to form a brand new nonprofit organization.  The organization is called the Global Energy Balance Network, which is now operating to promote the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they consume versus doing physical exercises.

Investing money to back a research project for swaying claims in your favor is a very old ploy, as Coca-Cola is doing what many other organizations have routinely undertaken to gain desired outcomes.  Such as, ConAgra Foods, Healthy Foods of America, McNeil Nutritionals, Nestle Nutrition Institute, Nutrition & Health Partnership, The Peanut Institute, Slim Fast Foods Company, Johnson & Johnson, have all spent their money in backing reports that twist reality.

Funding this study comes at a time when soda sales are noticeably dropping as American consumers move away from sugary drinks, making Coca Cola selfish in wanting to get consumers to drink an unhealthy product.  Coca Cola probably made the investment for publicizing a persuasive marketing message to cleverly craft how that their sugary sodas are okay to drink in order to turn vanished consumers back to drinking sodas.

On the other hand, I must say that this Coca Cola sponsored study can be taken in with a view that individual knowledge is paramount in preventing or losing fat.  Given that eating wrong is a choice, in turn knowledge is essential in understanding that routinely ingesting sugary-filled drinks will heighten the risk of becoming fat, developing Type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and/or other major health complications.

Consuming greater than 20% of your calories from added sugar doubles the risk of contracting those aforementioned diseases.  For a long time medical proof has shown evidence of how the over consumption of added sugar can not only cause obesity, but also considerably increase the risk of contracting cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Consequently, what can be considered right about Coca Cola’s funded study is that foodstuff by itself is not to blame for being overweight, because whatever we ingest is an end result from personal choice.  Fast food outlets customarily add sugar, and grocery shelves are stocked with countless numbers of products with added sugars, including, but not limited to, sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereals and yeast breads.  Making it ever so important to live SugarAlert!

Mr. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.