Got Science? Coca-Cola’s Disclosures Reveal Large-Scale Effort to Influence the Science on Sugar

In response to a growing number of critiques charging that Coca-Cola has actively attempted to skew the science on the connection between sugar and disease, the company–the world’s largest soft drink manufacturer–recently made the laudable decision to disclose its corporate funding over the past five years. The jaw-dropping list shows that Coca-Cola spent more than $100 million in this period to fund medical organizations, disease foundations, and athletic groups–including more than $21.8 million specifically earmarked to fund scientific research.

There’s a lot to say about the Coke-funded scientific research. But perhaps even more dismaying is the number of prestigious medical associations listed as recipients of Coke’s largesse in other ways. Consider, for example, that the American Academy of Pediatrics–a nonprofit organization representing some 64,000 pediatricians across the United States–accepted $3 million from Coca Cola to underwrite its website devoted to children’s health. What’s more, according to excellent reporting by the New York Times, the group even distributed cups and tote bags emblazoned with the Coca-Cola logo to pediatricians attending the group’s annual meeting in Boston in 2011.

To fully appreciate how misguided such sponsorship is, it is worth reviewing what real, solid scientific research shows about the relation between soft drink consumption and the epidemic of obesity and diabetes now affecting children in the United States.

An Epidemic of Obesity and Diabetes
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled in American children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years. As of 2012, more than one third of American children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Type-2 diabetes, a preventable, life-threatening disease marked by higher than normal levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood, has almost —> Read More