Cross-posted at WLF’s Forbes.com contributor page At a time when all their attempts to impose “sin taxes,” more regulation of advertising, and bans on certain products have been shot down, advocates of government intervention into America’s food choices have ratcheted up their below-the-belt demonization campaign. Words such as “toxic,” “poison,” “manipulation,” “addictive,” and “inherently dangerous” are increasingly used in the media when food and obesity are discussed. Viewers of MSNBC’s popular “Morning Joe” last Tuesday were treating to a red-faced rant from co-host Mika Brezinski about how, among other things, “sugar is poison” and soda is “killing our children.” (An ironic side note: “Morning Joe” is sponsored by Starbucks, purveyor of the 20 oz. Java Chip Frappuccino (570 cal., 88 g. of sugar)). Thousands more viewers of Al Sharpton’s “Politics Nation” show on March 8 heard about how “food companies are manipulating their products in order to get you addicted to them.” A segment on the talk show “Dr. Oz” had the good doctor talking about how parents face “a powerful conspiracy when it comes to feeding their families.” Such views and rhetoric are certainly not originating at the stratospheric level of the broadcast press. They are parroting what they hear in other media outlets, like The New York Times, Huffington Post, and The Atlantic, and also from public health academics/activists from schools such as Yale, NYU, and The University of California. The Times Magazine offered a must-read for activists and trial lawyers on February 20, excerpting from a Times reporter’s book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. It purports to relate through interviews and assessments of internal documents how processed food makers meticulously adjust their recipes to give their products (gasp!) maximum consumer appeal and achieve a “bliss point” where consumers want more. The author learned firsthand how bad things like cheese crackers and frozen waffles would taste without the additions of “toxic” salt and (heavily government-subsidized) sugar. Media reports have presented Salt Sugar Fat as further evidence of companies’ nefarious manipulation of our food, which leads to “food addiction.” Various other books and studies, some discussed in past Legal Pulse posts (here and here) have advanced this concept, claiming that some ingredients in food have an effect on the brain similar to marijuana, or that manipulated combinations of ingredients make them irresistibly “hyperpalatable.” The studies are severely lacking in detailed analysis or clear evidence of cause and effect. And as one published evaluation done by Cambridge University researchers relates, food addiction studies have failed to establish that such classic elements of addiction such as tolerance and withdrawal are evident in “food addicts.” Of course, in the court of public opinion and among policy-makers clear proof isn’t needed. Mere correlation between food and “addiction,” or even a plausible theory, is more than enough to support calls for taxation, regulation, and other measures to protect the defenseless, addictable public. The food addiction concept could mean even more to plaintiffs’ lawyers who are salivating over food and beverage industry profits, and legal activists who want to use litigation to reshape social behavior. Such lawyers and activists are working to posture food as the “next tobacco.” Food industry groups and their lawyers are equally anxious to convince us (and maybe themselves) that food (or sugar, or salt) is not tobacco, with law journal articles and association seminar panels devoted to countering the notion. From a legal and common-sense perspective, it’s hard to take seriously the idea of massive class action lawsuits against food and soda makers alleging fraud, conspiracy, failure to warn, breach of warranty, or other violations. The law journal article mentioned above does an excellent job explaining why such claims have little merit. The major flaws that undercut obesity lawsuits lie in the inherent complexity of food consumption and obesity. Given the many factors that contribute to obesity, and the diversity of foods people eat, how could one possibly prove causation? Don’t doubt, however, that activists and their lawyers will try, and all the publicity over “addiction” could play to their favor. Perhaps unflattering documents will arise through discovery in one of the many food labeling class action suits pending in court, some of which were brought by lawyers from the “tobacco wars.” Maybe whistleblowers seeking fame and fortune will come forward with secret strategy memos. Or it’s possible that ambitious state attorneys general could be convinced to get involved. And remember, all it takes is one or a few judges (who may read The New York Times or tune in to MSNBC) keen on making a name for themselves to start the litigation ball rolling down the hill. They’d have to cast aside a lot of basic legal principles, but we’ve seen judges do that before in the name of “public health,” haven’t we? Then again, food has been seen as potentially the “next tobacco” for at least the last decade, and it still isn’t. Let’s hope it’s all just talk and wishful thinking for another ten years, and beyond.Glenn Lammi, Chief Counsel, Legal Studies Division at the Washington Legal Foundation. This post originally appeared on The Legal Pulse. More Stories:What is Weighing Us Down? New Infographic Shows How Calorie Imbalance Impacts Us AllThe Real Story Behind Weight Loss MythsIs BPA Safe? Why Some Are Still Confused Despite EvidenceThe Coca-Cola Company Reinforces Its Commitment to Help America in the Fight Against ObesityGlobal Coke Ads Help Fight Against ObesityCoca-Cola Joins With Pro Sports Teams to Fight Childhood Obesity
We're looking for everyday ideas to get active and stay fit. We'd love to hear your idea. Share it here.Good things happen when people come together. They share ideas and innovations, which in turn foster community and creates workable solutions that help individuals and neighborhoods thrive. That’s why we encourage you to send us your comments and feedback. Your voice counts, whether it’s a high-five for a fitness initiative we’re working on, a suggestion for improving Coca-Cola packaging or a recommendation for a project we should support. We want to hear your personal stories, too — about grassroots action in your community that’s made a difference or obstacles you’ve overcome while trying to live a balanced life. Maybe you’ve figured out a way to carve out extra time for exercise every day, or you’ve actually convinced your kids to enjoy their veggies. We know moving forward means moving together as a team. So beyond sharing your thoughts, we want you to tell us what you think, and be part of the global discussion and action. Submit your ideas by sending us an email to email@example.com. Here Are Our Global CommitmentsWe Offer Low or No Calorie Beverage Options in Every MarketWe Provide Transparent Nutrition Information, Featuring Calories on the Front of All of Our PackagesWe Help Get People Moving by Supporting Physical Activity Programs in Every Country Where We Do BusinessWe Market Responsibly, Including No Advertising to Children Under 12 Anywhere in the World
Google "Copa Coca-Cola" and you'll get nearly 2 million hits related to the global project that was created by one of the world’s largest beverage companies and has changed lives, one football match at a time. There are Copa Coca-Cola fan clubs in Mexico, community websites in Zambia, Facebook pages in Uganda and testimonials from supporters in Chile, Colombia, Spain and Argentina. What Is Copa Coca-Cola? The international health and fitness program began in Mexico 15 years ago. Copa is the Spanish word for “cup,” and the Coca-Cola Cup has grown to become the largest inter-middle-school football tournament in Mexico. More than 80,000 schools have taken part in the competition, which has benefited 1 million young people so far. “Copa Coca-Cola began because promoting football (or futbol) and health has always been a key priority for our company,” says Lizette Zavala, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola who is associated with the program in Mexico City, adding that the company will continue to support the project because it "provides a good incentive for young people to adopt an active lifestyle." “The special thing about Copa Coca-Cola is its ability to permeate borders — social, economic and cultural — and bring young people together to create healthier communities,” says Zavala. Her message underlines the brand’s basic premise: The health of the business depends on the health of the communities served. In Mexico, where football is the national passion, mention Copa Coca-Cola to any middle school child, from Mexico City to Monterrey, and his or her eyes will light up immediately. Copa Coca-Cola not only helps young people stay active and healthy — it also offers the promise of catapulting talented players into the national limelight. Creating Opportunities Copa Coca-Cola alumni include such big names as Mónica Ocampo, Alberto Medina and Héctor Moreno, all of whom played for the Mexican national team. As in the past, there will be scouts at Coca-Cola Cup 15 (which kicked off Oct. 6 and will continue through Dec. 14). Their role is to guarantee tryouts throughout the tournament as well as at the National Grand Finale. According to Coca-Cola, all the scouts will be representing First or Second Division teams or the Sub-15 National Team. In a two-minute promo video for Copa Coca-Cola, Armando Hernández Torres, a physical education teacher and football coach in Jalapa, Veracruz, wears the team jersey, emblazoned with Coca-Cola's iconic red and white logo, while teaching kids the basics of the game. “To get more people involved in sports is one of my biggest challenges,” admits Torres, whose students mostly come from rough neighborhoods. “I know that at this age it’s not easy, and believe that the solution is to keep the mind occupied. Sport is the solution.” As the camera pans in to get a close-up of the children tackling the ball, it's clear from the smiles on their faces that Torres has succeeded in doing just that. Torres isn't the only one who has realized the potential of the Coca-Cola Cup. For the past 12 years, Daniel Elorreaga, a professional football coach and two-time Copa Coca-Cola champion, has been coaching teams from Christopher Columbus School in Mexico City to play in the tournament. Backed by the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol Asociacion, Copa Coca-Cola has slowly evolved into a hotbed for talent, with more and more students vying for a spot on one of the teams representing their school. “This year we will be sending three teams from our school because of the high demand,” Elorreaga says. “Copa Coca-Cola is a very big and important tournament in Mexico and every kid has his eye on the cup.” Most of Elorreaga’s former students have gone on to pursue successful careers and raise families, but “they still meet up to play sports,” he says. “It’s amazing what this sport has left these kids with .... It teaches them team spirit.” And, more important, how to stay fit. According to Coca-Cola, Copa Coca-Cola has helped young Mexicans exercise between six to nine hours every week. Elorreaga recalls the day his team won the Coca-Cola Cup in 2003. “It was also my wedding day,” he says, smiling. “After the final game, the kids showed up at my wedding with the cup. It was one of my best experiences as a coach.” Preparations are going strong for this year’s tournament. “The best part is that enrollment is free,” says Elorreaga. With more than 5,000 teams competing for this year’s cup, securing a spot in the Grand Finale won’t be easy, but Elorreaga is ready for the challenge. If his team wins, they will compete against next year’s winners for a ticket to the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. They will also get a chance to shadow the Mexican national team. In the past, the venue for the Copa Coca-Cola Grand Finale has included Estadio Azteca, Mexico’s largest stadium, where football giants such as Pelé and Diego Maradona have left their mark. (This year it will be held at the national team’s High Performance Center.) “Imagine a kid being able to play where the World Cup was held and where the professionals play,” Elorreaga says. “It’s a dream come true for them.”
On a daily basis, most people get enough fluid through normal drinking behavior, such as drinking with meals and snacks. However, thirst isn’t always a reliable gauge of hydration status, especially in children and older adults. A better barometer is the color of the urine. For most healthy individuals, clear or light-colored urine suggests adequate hydration, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration, although certain medicines and vitamins may cause the color of the urine to change, making this test unreliable. Infrequent urination and low urine volume can also suggest inadequate hydration. Mild dehydration can affect physical and mental performance and contribute to unpleasant physical symptoms like headaches and muscle cramps. The early signs of dehydration can be non-specific, usually involving fatigue, headache and confusion. Oral rehydration is usually all that is required. But because severe dehydration can be life-threatening, medical help should be sought quickly if there is any concern about someone needing more aggressive fluid supplementation. However, severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Because dehydration can develop quickly under some conditions, it’s important to recognize the following signs of dehydration in others and act quickly to help them cool down and rehydrate. Signs of Dehydration Increased thirstDry or sticky mouthLight-headedness or headacheFatigueImpaired mental focusLow urine outputInability to produce tearsDry skin References: Urinary indices of hydration status. Armstrong, L.E., Maresh, C.M., Castellani, J.W., Bereron, M.F., Kenefick, R.W., LaGassee, K.E., and Riebe D. Int J Sport Nutr. 1994 Sep;4(3):265-79.
Paying attention to hydration while exercising in cold climates is just as important as in hot climates. We all know that the hotter it is, the more you perspire and the more you need to drink. High rates of energy expenditure in winter activities such as snowboarding, ice skating, and skiing and the use of heavy clothing can likewise cause significant fluid loss through sweat. So remember to consume fluids before, during and after these activities. Being high above sea level can affect hydration. Have you ever noticed how hard and frequently you breathe when you are in higher elevation? With every breath you exhale, you are losing fluid. High altitudes also tend to have low humidity, which increases losses through the skin. And research suggests that people tend to drink less at high altitudes, probably due to a decreased sensation of thirst. So the next time you are staying at a higher elevation, remember to drink plenty of fluids. Don’t forget air travel. The air inside airplanes during flight tends to have very low humidity –only about 15%. Low humidity increases dehydrating water losses through the skin, which in turn drives up your need to drink. So the next time you are on a long flight, remember to drink plenty of fluids. For tips on staying hydrated, see our Hydration Checklist.
A smart choice is an informed choice. And when it's easy to make informed choices-and balance those choices with an active lifestyle, you're on your way to a healthier life. In September 2009, we were the first beverage company to commit to front-of-pack energy labeling globally on nearly all our packaging by the end of 2011, and we have met this target. The Clear on Calories program builds on our commitment by partnering with the American Beverage Association to create a unified look for the new labels, and by expanding the initiative to include company-controlled vending machines and fountain equipment. This way, you'll know exactly how many calories are in a beverage before making a purchase- whether at a store, or using one of our vending machines or fountain machines-making it easier for you to make informed choices that complement your active, healthy lifestyle.Calories Count™ Vending Program In support of initiatives to promote active, healthy lifestyles and combat obesity, we have developed a vending machine program that provides clear calorie information, encourages lower-calorie beverage choices, and reminds consumers that "calories count" in all the choices they make. The Calories Count vending program is part of the beverage industry's commitment to providing more low-/no-calorie product choices and clearer calorie information, making it easier for consumers to choose beverages that are right for them and their families. Program Background In February 2010, the beverage industry announced the Clear on Calories program in support of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign. The first step was placing a calorie label on the front of our cans, bottles, and packages, which we completed in 2011. The Calories Count vending program, described below, expands on our efforts by providing calorie information on beverage vending machines, encouraging lower-calorie beverage choices, and raising awareness of the importance of calorie balance and being active. Under the Calories Count vending program, we will work with government leaders, food service operators, vending companies, and other customers to: Increase availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machinesAdd calorie labels to selection buttons on beverage vending machines to show calorie counts per beverage container
Coca-Cola Great Britain Announces New Actions in Line with Calorie Reduction Pledge LONDON, Mar. 6, 2013 – Coca-Cola Great Britain today announced that it is taking further action to be part of the solution to the global problem of obesity. The new actions are focused on the following three areas:Giving people simple and clear information about the calorie content of its drinksEncouraging people to get active and take part in regular physical exerciseContinuing to offer people more choice in what they drink and raising awareness of low and no calorie alternatives The first step involves the launch of a series of new adverts in the UK. Tonight, a two minute video, titled “Coming Together”, will air on ITV and Channel 4. This video reminds viewers that all calories count in managing weight, including those in Coca-Cola’s products and brands. It will be followed by a second spot, “Be OK”, which will air later in the evening. “Be OK” gives clear information on the number of calories in a can of Coca-Cola and how much physical activity we need to do to burn those calories up. The advert also highlights no-calorie alternative, Coca-Cola Zero, for those who want the great Coca-Cola taste without the calories. The videos form part of a global advertising campaign launched by The Coca-Cola Company earlier this year, aimed at explaining the importance of ‘energy balance’ to manage weight. In the UK, “Coming Together” and “Be OK” will be supported by advertising in print media, and further TV advertisements will follow in the UK over the course of the coming year. The company also announced it was taking further action to implement the commitments made 11 months ago as part of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal Calorie Reduction Pledge, to which Coca-Cola was an early signatory. These include: The launch of a new, reduced calorie Sprite in the UK from March 2013: this will contain 30% fewer calories and, instead of being added as a mid-calorie addition to the Sprite range, it will completely replace the current SpriteNew Coca-Cola Zero advertisement: Coca-Cola will launch new Coca-Cola Zero advertising in April. The advert will continue to build consumer awareness of Coca-Cola Zero’s great Coke taste, zero sugar, no calorie message. Over 45% of the Coca-Cola ™ we sell in the UK is Coca-Cola Zero or Diet CokeThe announcement of a renewed three-year partnership with UK charity StreetGames, to 2015, which continues the company’s commitment to deliver a lasting legacy of grassroots sports participation following the London 2012 Olympic Games. Since 2010, Coca-Cola Great Britain’s partnership with StreetGames has helped more than 110,000 young people from some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country access sports on their doorstep.James Quincey, President Europe Group, The Coca-Cola Company said: “Obesity is a serious problem and I am determined we will take more actions in Europe to help address it. The actions announced today build on our earlier efforts and are part of a long-term commitment.” The actions announced today build on Coca-Cola Great Britain’s existing commitments in this area. Our policies: We are committed to providing fact-based nutrition information to help individuals understand and manage their energy balance. In simple terms, this is about giving people the information to make sensible choices. This includes consuming a variety of foods and beverages in moderation and ensuring individual nutrition needs are met, without exceeding the number of calories burned during the day. Our commitment also includes marketing responsibly, encouraging physical activity and innovation to provide greater choice. Calorie Reduction Pledge: in March 2012, the Coca-Cola System in Great Britain announced plans to reduce the calories in some of our leading soft drinks by at least 30%. We plan to reduce the average calories per litre of our range of sparkling soft drinks by 5% by the end of 2014. Nutrition Labelling: since 2003 we voluntarily included nutrition information on the labelling of all our products. In 2007 we introduced Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labelling on the front of our packaging. This includes calorie information.We are members of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal and are partners of the Food, Physical Activity and Workplace Wellbeing Networks.Our products: We are committed to providing a variety of soft drinks for every lifestyle and occasion, along with information to help people make informed choices and live active, healthy lives. We do this by: a) Reducing calories: All of our major brands have a widely available no-calorie, zero sugar or low-calorie alternativeMore than one third of the drinks we sell in the UK are low- and no- calorieMore than 40% of the Coca-Cola™ we sell is no-calorie or zero sugar Since 2007, we’ve reduced the calorie content of: Fanta Orange by 30%; Oasis by 35%; Lilt by 56%In November last year, we reduced the calories in Glaceau vitaminwaterIn March this year, we are introducing Sprite with Stevia in the UK, reducing the overall calorie content of regular Sprite by 30%b) Providing greater choice We offer a wide range of single and multi-serve packs. In 2012, we added to this range with 375ml bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero. We will continue to innovate to provide further choice on pack sizesOn all pack sizes above 330ml cans, we indicate clearly that a portion size is 250ml (a soft drinks industry standard)Our programmes: We use the appeal of our company and brands to encourage people to become more active, more often. We do this through: a) Our partnership with StreetGames, which reaches thousands of young people from the UK’s disadvantaged communities, getting them active and involved in sport on their doorsteps. b) Our 35 year partnership with Special Olympics GB which provides year-round sports training and competition for intellectually disabled people. c) As the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic Movement, we always aim to use each Olympic and Paralympic Games as a catalyst to become a better business and positively impact the communities in which each Games takes place. In partnership with think tank Demos, we created a new evaluation tool to enable corporate sponsors to measure the social value of sponsorship. In addition to providing financial and operational support, our sponsorship of London 2012 was independently evaluated to have generated genuine social value. -ENDS- For further information and to view the new ads, please go to www.coca-cola.co.uk/comingtogether Alternatively, please contact Coca-Cola Great Britain Press Office on 020 7998 6287 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org NOTE TO EDITORS: About Coca-Cola Great Britain: Coca-Cola Great Britain is responsible for marketing 21 brands and over 100 products to consumers across Great Britain, focusing upon developing new brands, extending existing brands and protecting trademarks including Coca-Cola. Other Coca-Cola Great Britain brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper, Glaceau vitaminwater, Oasis, Schweppes, 5 Alive, Lilt, Kia Ora, Relentless Energy Drink and Powerade. The Coca-Cola Great Britain portfolio is worth £2,086 million with value sales growth of 4.2% in the past year. Within this, the Coca-Cola Trademark (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero) is worth £1,157 million (Neilsen, w/c 19/01/13). Coca-Cola Great Britain is committed to developing innovative, responsible and sustainable initiatives that help protect the environment. Recently, the company launched its PlantBottle™ packaging range made from up to 22.5% plant-based material and up to 25% recycled plastic. For more information about Coca-Cola in Great Britain, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.co.ukMore Ways Coca-Cola Is Helping Fight Obesity:Together for Good in the Fight Against ObesityThe Coca-Cola Company Reinforces Its Commitment to Help America in the Fight Against ObesityGlobal Coke Ads Help Fight Against ObesityCoca-Cola Joins With Pro Sports Teams to Fight Childhood Obesity