Fashion Week in New York City just wouldn’t be the same without its staples: big designers, scary-skinny 17-year-olds, and copious cans and cups brimming with Diet Coke. So it makes sense that the company who has made its millions as a zero-calorie meal replacement for hoards of disordered eaters is teaming up, yet again, with America’s biggest week in style. What makes less sense, though, is Diet Coke’s joint project with The Heart Truth® , which combat’s America’s biggest killer: heart disease. Because, you know, Diet Coke has been linked to heart attacks.
The team effort, which also includes a partnership with Instagram, is asking participants to upload a photo of themselves wearing read (ostensibly to show that they are aware of heart disease), and Tweet it or post it to Tumblr with the hashtag #ShowYourHeart. Then, they’ll be entered to win a trip to New York for Fashion Week, where they can hob-know with real, live, Diet Coke-drinking models and fashion folk. Which is sweet and nice and seasonally appropriate–but totally, entirely backwards, when coming from Diet Coke.
What went wrong? How did such a terrible match-up become a reality? The Heart Truth® campaign’s heart is in the right place. According to its mission statement, it “not only raises awareness about heart disease in women, it also equips women to take action against risk factors”–something that the country desperately needs, because a lot of the heart ailments that end in fatalities in America are preventable, and heart disease is the most common cause of death. Except that partnering with a product like Diet Coke, which has been linked to elevated heart attack risk, they’re not really educating anyone about the risk factors. In fact, they’re hopelessly muddling the water.
Diet Coke, who are you trying to fool with this? The only way you could even theoretically be good for someone’s heart was if you encouraged them to also eat a diet that would lower their cholesterol and gave them enough energy to go to Pilates. And somehow, I don’t think that that’s what you’re doing.
And really, even if every study linking Diet Coke to heart attacks and strokes turned out to be wildly inaccurate (which is doubtful, but more research is needed), the ubiquitous beverage still isn’t a healthy thing to put in your body. The artificial sweeteners are still relatively new to human consumption, which means we haven’t really seen how they may impact our bodies in the future. Additionally, diet soda has been linked to an increased desire for sugar and calories, which means it isn’t guaranteed to help you lower your weight–but you may actually gain weight.
To lower your risk of heart disease, exercise and a balanced diet are some of the best steps. To get to Fashion Week for free, courtesy of Diet Coke, Tweeting a photo of yourself in red is the best step. Let’s not confuse the two, and pretend that Diet Coke is doing anything positive for anyone’s heart.
Image: Diet Coke