PepsiCo CEO: Soda, Potato Chips Aren’t Bad, Are “Fine For You”

Tonight, CNBC is going to be featuring an hour-long documentary about PepsiCo, who owns Pepsi, Lay’s, Doritos, and about a million other things. Part of the special, an interview with CEO Indra Nooyi,  has already been released online–and in it, Nooyi admits that she thinks that “soda, Doritos, Lay’s…are all just fine for you. They’re fun for you.” What a great message, am I right?

Yup. According to the people trying to sell you soda and chips, soda and chips are totally not bad for you–as long as you only have a little. And yet…wasn’t Lay’s tagline “Betcha can’t eat just one” for about a million years? Indra Nooyi, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

And she does. In a really kind of unbelievable way. Nooyi is quick to point out how wholesome Lay’s chips are–they’re just salt, oil, and potatoes!–so even if you were to say, eat more than a serving, it’s just those three ingredients! And they’re not even that salty, she says!

In fact, Nooyi goes on to explain, a “bag of Lay’s has less sodium than a slice of white bread.” She doesn’t explain what size of a bag of lays, but either way, it’s not strictly true. A single serving of classic Lay’s potato chips (which is about 15 chips) contains 170 mg of sodium. A slice of white bread, however, contains about 100. Though to be fair, many bread makers consider two slices a serving–which is likely where she got her facts, even if she’s presented them incorrectly.

But if these are the kinds of “facts” that PepsiCo’s head honcho is representing, it’s difficult to take her even-keeled “everything in moderation” stance without a grain of salt (no pun intended). Particularly considering that that’s the real rub here–soda and chips are “fine for you”…as long as you don’t have too much. Which PepsiCo tries really hard to get you to do, by offering 2 servings per bottle of soda or bag of chips. PepsiCo, you can’t have it both ways.

Of course, a well-moderated diet coupled with exercise is the best way to take care of your body–but for PepsiCo to continue to push their product as “not bad” and, in fact, “fine for you” (as long as it’s in moderation, which they make kind of difficult to achieve through crafty packaging) is super irresponsible. Moderation and backwards messaging isn’t going to reach the masses, who are facing a health crisis. All most people will hear from this interview is “chips = good.”

Here’s the video. What do you think?

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