Are sodas the new cigarettes?

NYT columnist Mark Bittman makes the argument:

This time it might be right, but it isn’t going to do the world’s best-known brand any good. It’s hurting from decreased domestic sales and smarting from the piles of evidence that soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are not only our biggest source of calories, but also among our most harmful. So it has struck back with a two-minute video whose ostensible message is that too many calories will make you fat (true), that those in Coke are no worse than any others (false), and that we’re all in this together (ridiculous).

The video is brilliantly executed. Its honeyed, heart-rending voice-over and stirring images — as American as a Chevy commercial — nearly caused me to go out and buy a case myself, as I recalled those innocent days of the ’50s and ’60s when Coke and cigarettes and Our Country and I were all (it seemed) young together, happy and happening and eating burgers and fries like there was no tomorrow. It took me back to when Coke was the real thing, it was “it,” we were teaching the world to sing together, and even Mean Joe Greene was just a cutie. There’s always been Coca-Cola.

Well, there were always Marlboros, too, and as diseases related to metabolic syndrome surpass those from smoking, Coke is becoming a dinosaur, one that should not be replaced by aspartame-laced drinks (which have problems of their own, including, possibly, depression) but by water. Even the not-exactly-radical American Heart Association recognizes that the amount of sugar in a Coke is probably the most added sugar people can safely tolerate daily, and our average intake is two to three times that.

This is another video on the subject, not produced by Coke but worth watching:



Discuss

3 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. To answer the title question...

    …no. Soda has little if any nutritional value, but it is neither intoxicating nor am I going to suffer the effects of second-hand carbonation by being in the same room as one who is drinking it.

  2. If Coke were serious

    it would be taking the high-fructose corn syrup out of its products and using sugar instead. That would be a very small, but meaningful, step that it could take to show that it wants to act in good faith.

    It could also voluntarily remove its sugary drinks from schools. That’s already going to eventually happen in every school in this country, whether Coke likes it or not, so it may as well take the good PR now and start cooking up good alternatives.

    RyansTake   @   Wed 23 Jan 9:38 PM
  3. This op-ed doesn't speak directly to the issue of soda

    but was, I thought, an interesting perspective on the “obesity epidemic:” “Our Absurd Fear of Fat”.
    I agree that Coke and Pepsi are pretty awful for you. In a way, it’s obvious- the stuff looks like acidic motor oil.

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