Last week, Coca-Cola addressed its increasingly relevant role in America’s obesity issues for the first time … by releasing a commercial exonerating the company from blame. The ad touts Coca-Cola’s efforts to reduce calories in its sugary beverages, to offer a range of low- or zero-calorie drinks and to pull sodas from schools in favor of water, juices and sports drinks. All of which is (in its own warped “corporate social responsibility” way) commendable. And none of which changes the fact that even no- or low-calorie sodas or moderate sugary-drink consumption can wreck your health.
I don’t fault Coke for trying. It’s not as if anything in the original ad is blatantly untrue, and just putting the number of calories in regular soda (as the ads do) front and center is something of a radical departure from typical beverage advertising — even if the company then suggests that you can just burn these calories right off by laughing and dog-walking.
If Coca-Cola has committed any sins, they’re ones of omission. And that’s understandable — because here’s what an “honest” and thorough look at Coke’s health risks would entail: