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Coca-Cola Scandal: Emails Prove Deception

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Coke exec steps down after emails show the company was intentionally skewing the science about the health effects of its products.

Last week, the Associated Press published emails showing close coordination between high-ranking Coca-Cola executives and leaders of the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), a nonprofit that claims to fund research into causes of obesity, but instead promotes the idea that lack of exercise, not bad diet, is primarily responsible for the obesity epidemic.

The scandal has resulted in the immediate retirement of the chief architect of the partnership, Coke’s top science and health officer Rhona Applebaum.

As we reported previously, Coke’s financial ties to the organization were initially uncovered by a New York Times story that Coke had donated over $1.5 million to GEBN. This raised obvious questions as to Coke’s influence over GEBN and the research it was putting out to the public—concerns that Coke denied.

The leaked emails tell a vastly different story: that GEBN was a Coca-Cola public relations project from the very beginning.

One email shows Applebaum telling James Hill—the future president of GEBN—that she has “sold the concept” of creating GEBN to her superiors, later saying that anyone involved in the project must be open to “collaboration” with private industry (“That is non-negotiable,” she writes).

After Hill becomes president, he emails a Coke executive and says the focus of the company’s research should be “energy balance”—code words for looking solely at calories consumed vs. calories expended, when natural health is founded on the premise that the content of those calories is vital to both health and weight management. “We have given you ideas here,” Hill writes to Coca-Cola. “We have also given you ideas for research projects that might be very specific to coke [sic] interests.”

Other emails demonstrate the real purpose of GEBN, with Applebaum explaining that the group will “inject sanity and reason” into the obesity debate and will be “akin to a political campaign” in which Coke will “develop, deploy and evolve a powerful and multi-faceted strategy to counter radical organizations and their proponents.” For example, to a proposal that GEBN should partner with other companies on a particular project, Applebaum says in an email: “There you go! Than [sic] the # of experts and reputable orgs is too large for any naysayers to cull the pack and attack.”

And just to show you how cynical both organizations were in their strategizing, Hill actually calls Coke “a company selling sugar water” in one email—which doesn’t provoke any argument from Applebaum.

Of course other industries, including Big Pharma, play the same game. It is all part of today’s crony capitalism, in which special interests are subverting all of our institutions, including government—not to mention creating a revolving-door policy for officials to go from government positions to powerful industry jobs and back again. Standards of truth are disintegrating in a spreading tide of deception and corruption.

 

Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

TPP a Disaster for Natural Health

Eleven States Join the Push for Medical Monopoly

“Agent Orange” Herbicide Pulled by EPA

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  • Truth59

    The whole issue of companies lying like Coke just did would be to stop allowing companies of any kind to do write their own research articles. Have impartial people write them and stop the company like Coke from bullying these impartial people.

    • Wondering Woman

      Hiring people with some knowledge of the field they are working in, like chemists, scientists, etc instead of crony, relative, big donor appointments or hirings would be a good start toward ending the corruption.
      Putting a one world global government puppet with no knowledge of agricultire in charge of the USDA is not going to improve the harvest of any fruit or vegetable. Ditto for all other departments and agencies.

  • fats

    what does Obama and coke have in common.

    • Wondering Woman

      Of no good use – or were you asking in reference to the coke he used to snort? LOL

      • Peter R Mare

        Bush was candy nose.

  • Wondering Woman

    Firmly believe that coco cola and most other carbonated beverages have no health benefits, but cause many health problems – beginning with proteinuria which may be the beginning symptom of cancer of the kidneys and kidney failure.
    Have read of a study that probably explains how they cause those problems. This study said that most carbonated beverages contain sodium benzoate as a preservative, which is fine by itself. But when you add any form of vitamin C to the ingredients, it causes a chemical reaction that converts the sodium benzoate back into benzene. Google adverse effects of benzene on the body and very near the top of the list is cancer of the kidneys.
    Have personally seen results of having 4 mothers take their children, whose urines tested from 2 to 4+ proteinuria, off all carbonated beverages for one week – changing nothing except letting them drink only water, fruit juice or milk. One week later the 10 year old with 4+ proteinuria was down to a trace, the 3 younger ones were negative. Cultures & Sensitiviites were negative on all 4 urines.
    PS- years later after I read the above mentioned study, on my next trip to the grocery, went to beverage counter and found that same harmful combination in most of the drinks – carbonated soda pops, sports drinks, Gaterades, fruit drinks – even in some fruit juices and health food drinks. You must be constantly vigilant in reading ingredient lists to protect your and your loved ones health.

  • Dust of the Earth

    I don’t worry too much about things like this. No matter what Coke does, soda consumption continues to decline. Increasing numbers of people know better.