David Levitsky, a professor of Nutritional Sciences and Psychology at Cornell University who specializes in obesity, weight loss and how people inform their food choices, comments on Coca-Cola’s new anti-obesity advertising campaign.
“It is ironic that Coca-Cola is attempting to polish its image as America’s most ‘refreshing’ drink by advertising its concern and understanding of the role it is playing in the expansion of America’s waistline. The irony comes from the fact that it is these two factors – a product containing calories and the mechanism of selling the product, advertising – that is at the core of the epidemic of obesity.
“A deeper penetration into this ad reveals the fundamental paradox which is preventing us from reducing our weight. Coca-Cola and all the other large food companies are faced with the dilemma of producing increased profits for their shareholders. But the only way they can do this is by seducing us into ingesting a few more calories. What Coke is doing with these ads is telling us that by offering a greater variety of lower calorie drinks they are allowing us to choose to consume few calories. If we don’t choose to drink them and, instead, select the old fashion higher-calorie drinks, then our weight problem is our fault, not theirs. But what Coca-Cola and the merchandizers in the food industry know is that offering a greater variety of foods will only increase our total calorie consumption and will make us, and their wallets, grow a little fatter.
“The only way to reverse the epidemic of obesity is to announce something that the large food companies don’t want to hear: We have to eat less.”
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