Coca-Cola says that people should focus less on bad diets and more on exercising to lose weight, in a new science-based study.
Health experts claimed that the message is misleading in an effort taken by the company to deflect criticism about the role of sugary drinks in the spread of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Coca-Cola funded millions of dollars and logistical support to a new non-profit organization called Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), to provide new science-based solution to tackle obesity crisis.
The company and GEBN together emphasized that to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.
"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, in fact, is the cause," said, Steven N. Blair, one of the organization's scientists and vice president in a recent video.
According to Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, Coca-Cola's agenda is to get researchers "to confuse the science and deflect attention from dietary intake."
Experts criticize that the company is using the organization to convince the public that exercise can balance a bad diet, despite the existing fact that exercise can only give minimal impact on weight compared with what people consume.
Michele Simon, a public health lawyer, said, "The act of Coca-Cola may be a response to the losses of the company. Coke has announced its quarterly profit dropped 14 percent in 2014, and over the last decade sales continue to decline in the United States, when people started to shift away from carbonated drinks and even diet soda because of health concerns."
Studies have shown that the negative effects of sugary drinks and other studies suggest a good diet is more effective than physical activity.
In the food industry, science-based research is not uncommon. Many companies have funded scientific studies. But a recent research published in the journal PLOS Medicine
, found that those funded studies were five times more likely to find no link between sugary drinks and weight gain than studies whose authors were not affiliated with the companies.