by Marion Nestle
Jan 27 2008

Coke and Pepsi promote health!

I’m getting lots of e-mails about Coca-Cola’s co-sponsorship of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Instutite’s HeartTruth Red Dress campaign to increase women’s awareness of their risk for heart disease. You can find out more about Diet Coke’s sponsorship on the Coca-Cola website. Here’s my favorite line in the news release: “Participation by Coca-Cola does not imply endorsement by DHHS/NIH/NHLBI.” Really? I’ll bet Coke hopes people will think it does.

But that’s not all. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) is partnering with Pepsi. Pepsi, it says, “will work with ADA to develop consumer and professional education programs, and tackle nutrition research questions.” How’s that for unbiased?

  • Nic

    What does the ADA gain from partnering with Pepsi? More access to funding?

  • It’s always amazing how big corporations have no shame.

    Even non-profits: the Girl Scouts of America continue to hawk millions of cookies containing Partially Hydrogenated Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, etc., despite the childhood obesity epidemic being out-of-control.

    Oh, three years ago they promised to eliminate trans fats from their cookies. But rather than eliminate them they reduced amounts/serving sizes til they reached the .5g loophole for each. And as we all know, very few eat just the serving size in one-sitting, much less one day.

    What will it be, another 50 years before the Girl Scouts sell a healthy product for fund-raising? I mean, com’on cookies seem to be the last thing (besides soda) that Americans need extra of.

  • Former ADA member

    This type of thing is why I am no longer a member of the ADA.

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  • As much as I recoil against taxpayer money being used to tell us what to eat (and I’m a lifelong Democrat, so this is not a knee-jerk “less government is better” position for me), it’s better than private sector money influencing the public sector organizations that tell us what to eat.

    Which raises the question: why is NIH putting itself in a position where there is the appearance of a conflict of interest? I recently went through my company’s mandatory business code of ethics training, and we as employees have to disclose to HR anything that gives such an appearance, even owning small amounts of stock in a vendor. Does the government not have similar standards?

    Yet another reason to be skeptical of NHLBI’s credibility …

  • Fentry

    Strawberry Cheetos anyone?

    I’ve been told it goes perfectly with Pepsi’s other offering, Cucumber Soda

  • rj

    Aren’t there other health concerns with respect to sodas? Such as phosphoric acid being linked to causing kidney problems and the leaching of calcium?

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  • Lorri Holzberg

    Dear Dr. Nestle:

    I am a Registered Dietitian and a Diabetes Educator in the San Francisco area and I have been following and admiring your nutrition advice for years. Currently I am a Public Policy Coordinator for California to ADA.

    I just read your criticism of ADA in the link below and I feel badly that you chose to put down ADA for its message instead of joining forces and finding ways that we can work together. We all, essentially, have the same message and are basing our information on scientific nutrition information and not just fad for the moment information. I don’t particularly like the fact that ADA has to partner with commercial companies but as an organization which does not have much money this is the way that we can fund educational programs for our members and get our scientific message out to the public. I have attended many programs including the Public Policy Workshop last week and did not find the partnering invasive at all.

    At the Public Policy Workshop, 500 ADA members visited members of Congress and their own Senators giving the message of expanding Medical Nutrition Therapy in Medicare and putting an emphasis on the farm bill of expansion of food stamps with a pilot program of adhering to the Dietary Guidelines; providing more research for food and agriculture programs; and a better distribution of funds for nutrition programs as opposed to farm subsidies.

    I think our message is being heard far and wide and I hope that you will consider joining with us instead of voicing criticism for this well-respected organization of highly educated and well-trained health professionals.

    Very sincerely,

    Lorri Holzberg, MA, RD, CDE

    2407 Sharon Road
    Menlo Park CA 94025

  • Ms. Holzberg,

    Do you find the ADA guidelines to be useful in helping patients achieve normal blood sugars?

  • anotherformerADA member

    Like 2:44 comment:
    I, too, am another RD who let my ADA membership lapse. These corporate partnerships (Alli & Pepsi) are downright embarrassing.