Drinking This "Popular Poison" Is Worse Than Smoking
Posted By Dr. Mercola | November 21 2011
By Dr. Mercola
Soda, which is loaded with sugar primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup, is a leading contributor to the rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases facing Americans.
So when I say that drinking a can of soda is just as bad for you as smoking a cigarette (and maybe even worse) it is not an exaggeration.
Drinking soda is in many ways worse for you than smoking, and it is only because of massive marketing campaigns from the industry that these sugary beverages are deemed acceptable for our most vulnerable members of society – our kids.
In the 21st century there would indeed be an uproar if tobacco companies attempted to target our kids, but the soda companies do it everyday.
It's time to wake up and face the facts: the soda industry is out for your children, and the message they send is every bit as damaging (and manipulative) as the one spewed by Big Tobacco.
Striking Similarities Between the Soda Industry and Big Tobacco
If I asked you to quickly recall a commercial or slogan from leading soda companies, like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, could you do it?
Chances are you'd have no trouble recalling the friendly polar bear commercials or "the real thing" logo, and if you asked your kids, they'd probably come up with a few too.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for how beverage big-wigs have gotten their products firmly embedded into the homes of millions of Americans and others worldwide. Coca-Cola, for instance, spends close to $3 billion a year on advertising. With that amount of money it's no wonder the company has managed to hold on to its wholesome reputation.
They, and other beverage giants, are also in the habit of forming strategic alliances with health organizations that make it appear as though they are looking out for your health, which is about as laughable as Big Tobacco sponsoring a marathon. And like Big Tobacco, they also create front groups to fight anti-soda legislation and science.
For instance, as Time magazine reported:
The Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness (isn't that name an oxymoron?) even creates continuing education courses for registered dietitians!
- The American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other soft drink producers, has attacked suggestions to tax soda as "discriminatory." Their organization is touted as a "neutral forum," but in reality is devoted to discrediting negative press against soft drinks. For instance, in relation to obesity, ABA states, "All of our industry's beverages can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestlye."
- The soda industry has created the front group Americans Against Food Taxes, which runs anti-tax campaigns. As Kelly Brownell wrote in Time:"The name of the group implies a patriotic, grass roots movement, not a highly financed entity initiated and organized by industry."
- Another industry-created front group, Foundation for a Healthy America, recently donated $10 million to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to research and prevent childhood obesity! Diet Coke has also teamed up with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to raise awareness for women's heart health programs and was the official "Beverage of Choice" for the 2010 winter Olympics.
- The soda industry funds research to discredit links between soda drinking and health problems. Brownwell writes:"The tobacco industry paid scientists who did research disputing links between smoking and lung cancer, the addictive nature of nicotine, and the dangers of second-hand smoke. The soda industry funds scientists who reliably produce research showing no link between SSB [sugar-sweetened beverage] consumption and health. The tobacco industry bought favor from community and national organizations by giving large donations. In an ironic twist, Coca Cola and PepsiCo are corporate sponsors of the American Dietetic Association."