January 16 2013
One expert suggests that Coca-Cola may not deserve the criticism it is drawing for its new anti-obesity ad.
The two-minute commercial (view below) urges people to "come together on something that concerns all of us: obesity." Coke also makes it known that it now offers nearly 200 low- or no-calorie beverages and that the company has voluntarily changed its drink offerings in schools primarily to water, juices and low- or no-calorie options.
Both efforts have led to a substantial reduction in calorie consumption, according to Coke. The beverage giant also points out that it supports programs that enable young people to get active, while it continues to work with researchers to develop zero-calorie, all-natural sweeteners.
Even so, nutrition professor Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill tells USA Today, "The Coca-Cola Company still remains one of the major causes of obesity in the USA and globally." Likewise, Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest calls the new ad "a page out of Damage Control 101."
But Julie Gunlock, director of the Women for Food Freedom Project at theIndependent Women's Forum (IWF), tells OneNewsNow the anti-soda effort misses the bigger picture.
"When these sort of food nannies, food police, health activists say that, they are trying to push a regulatory agenda," she asserts. "They really have their target set on soda. They want to see it regulated; they want to see it banned; they want to see it taxed. The truth is we can [do all those things], but people will still have availability to extra-large pizzas … macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken -- you name it."
Gunlock goes on to add that the term "consumer advocate" has been taken over by left-wing organizations, along the same lines as "environmental activist."
"Most of these organizations have one goal. It's not to make Americans healthier, or children healthier, or to improve products in the marketplace," the IWF spokesperson notes.
"They have a regulatory agenda -- it is growing government. They see a role for government; they want to see government have more role in what you eat, in the products that you purchase. So a lot of these advocacy groups are no longer sort of just keeping an eye on things."
But as Gunlock reports, regulations generally mean higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.