You’ve probably seen or at least heard about the ads and videos from Coca-Cola that preach healthy living and obesity prevention. They proclaim that a calorie is a calorie – meaning that calories in Coke products are no different than calories in other foods – and they defend the use of low-calorie sweeteners as “safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar.”
I’d call these ads and videos a joke, but there’s nothing funny about the effects that Coke and other sweetened beverages have on our health and our healthcare system.
Instead, a more accurate label for the claims made – and the products they promote – is garbage.
The average soda has absolutely no nutritional value. It has sugar or artificial sweeteners, carbonated water, artificial color, artificial flavors, caffeine and other chemical substances that lead to chronic diseases like high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, cancer and metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
In fact, according to The New York Times article, “Coke Blinks,” by Mark Bittman, diseases related to metabolic syndrome have surpassed those related to smoking.
Public health officials, parents and politicians are finally coming around to these facts, which may explain why Coca-Cola is hurting from decreased domestic sales.
As Mr. Bittman points out, soda and other sweetened beverages aren’t just the biggest source of calories. They’re among the most harmful products that human beings can consume.
Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance, in response to Coca-Cola’s claim that the calories in soda are no worse than any other types of calories, correctly states that different calories have different metabolic fates within the body.
Calories from fructose overwhelm the liver and force the pancreas to create more insulin, which drives more energy into fat cells. Sugar is nothing but a fructose delivery system. This is the core problem with Coke and other types of soda. Not only do they lead to inflammation, insulin resistance and chronic disease, but they’re addictive.
The following video paints a more accurate picture of the ingredients in Coca-Cola and the impact that these sweetened beverages can have on our lives:
The popularity of Coke as one of the world’s most recognizable brands was part of a 100-year movement to industrialize our food supply, marketing products filled with additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors and coloring that extend shelf life and create a sweet, addictive taste. Unfortunately, these chemicals also make us sick.
Now, the tide is starting to turn back towards natural, unprocessed, healthy foods. Due to public outcry, government is beginning to take a role in regulating these products. Research from the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 68 percent of respondents worldwide favor government regulation of sugar-sweetened beverages.
As the above video points out, this is what Coca-Cola would be saying if it was being truthful with us:
“If you choose to live a healthy lifestyle, then you should not be drinking any of our products… Don’t drink Coke. It’s killing you and your family.”
This is the year of the family. It’s great that government is finally beginning to recognize the damage that soda can do to our bodies, but if we’re going to take our health back, we must take responsibility for the food and substances we put in our bodies.
When I was 19 years old, I wanted to start taking better care of myself, start working out and stop eating so poorly. The first thing I did was cut soda completely out of my diet – cold turkey – and this began my own personal health transformation. I wouldn’t ask you to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. Let’s make the simple, smart choices that help us feel better, function better and live as many disease-free years as possible.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.