In recent weeks, the Internet has discovered what happens after you drink a can of Coke and Diet Coke. So it seems most of us are aware of soda’s health effects, right? Well as it turns out, the giant soft drink company Coca-Cola has spent millions of dollars to fund a group of scientists who argue that exercise is, conveniently, far more important than diet.
According to a New York Times story, the American branch of the company spent at least $1.5 million on the launch of the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), which according to the website is:
A newly formed, voluntary public-private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to identifying and implementing innovative solutions – based on the science of energy balance – to prevent and reduce diseases associated with inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity. It is a premier world-wide organization led by scientists working on the development and application of an evidence-based approach to ending obesity.
GEBN’s vice president claims that “fitness trumps fatness” in multiple videos, including one last week where he said, “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.”
This claim clashes with other health experts who have said that sugary drinks have played a role in obesity and Type-2 diabetes, as well as other experts who have said that “physical activity does not promote weight loss.”
Coca-Cola told the New York Times:
We partner with some of the foremost experts in fields of nutrition and physical activity. It’s important to us that the researchers we work with share their own views and scientific findings, regardless of the outcome, and are transparent and open about our funding.
The New York Times also notes that funding scientists isn’t exclusive to Coca-Cola. Other big name brands like Pepsi, Hershey’s and McDonald’s have all funded scientists and lobby groups.
Now, we aren’t health experts, but we’re inclined to agree with those who say calorie intake plays a major role in weight gain and loss. So, keep the gym membership, but be smart about what you put in your body and, hey, a Coke now and then won’t kill you.