On its website, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sings the praises of Coca-Cola thusly:
“As a sponsor in the Academy’s Corporate Sponsorship program since 2008, The Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness has provided a variety of science-based resources and research for members, actively participated in the Academy’s events and programs and generously supported the Foundation.”
Furthermore, Dr. Rhona Applebaum — Coca-Cola Vice President, Chief Scientific & Regulatory Officer — states that “Like the Academy, The Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness understands that a healthy lifestyle involves balancing many different elements — staying physically active, consuming a balanced diet, getting enough rest — and even keeping a positive attitude.”
All sounds wonderful in theory. Time for a reality check, courtesy of the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
- “Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association have spent at least $106 million to defeat public health initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels since 2009, according to an analysis conducted by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.”
- “Like the tobacco industry before it, the soda industry is spending heavily and spending strategically and has mostly been successful at blocking federal, state and local public health measures aimed at reducing soda-related disease,” said CSPI director of health promotion policy Jim O’Hara. “However, it’s unclear whether the industry will be able to preserve its winning streak when it has to fend off a greater number of soda tax or warning label proposals simultaneously.”
Certainly, there is a significant disconnect between what companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo tell health organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and how they choose to spend their lobbying dollars.