Coca-Cola Pays For Gamecock “Science”

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA AT THE HEART OF “SODA SCIENCE SCANDAL” || By FITSNEWS || For the record, we think Coca-Cola is delicious.  Especially when you drink it from a glass bottle. Stuff’s the bomb. John Pemberton‘s legendary concoction is also an American original, tracing its lineage all the way…


|| By FITSNEWS || For the record, we think Coca-Cola is delicious.  Especially when you drink it from a glass bottle.

Stuff’s the bomb.

John Pemberton‘s legendary concoction is also an American original, tracing its lineage all the way back to 1886 and a small Atlanta, Georgia pharmacy.  There, Pemberton sold his first bottles of the formula – which he claimed was a cure for morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headaches … even impotence.


Anyway, Coca-Cola is the most popular soft drink in the world and the best-known brand in the world (thank you, Don Draper).  But with growing numbers of Americans watching their growing waistlines, it’s also under siege as calorie counters look to cut where they can from their diets.

In fact consumption of carbonated beverages is down nearly 14 percent over the last decade.

According to the company, each twelve ounce serving of Coca-Cola contains 140 calories (along with 39 grams of sugar, 45 milligrams of sodium and 34 milligrams of caffeine).

In lieu of changing those numbers, Coca-Cola has a “plan B.”

From The New York Times

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

The beverage giant has teamed up with influential scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

Leading this charge?  University of South Carolina “exercise scientist” Steven N. Blair (bio here) and former USC professor Gregory A. Hand (bio here).

“Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, ‘Oh they’re eating too much, eating too much, eating too much’ – blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on,” Blair says in a video announcing the group. “And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that that, in fact, is the cause.”

Umm … hmmm.

Blair’s statements were ridiculed recently by the editorial board of USA Today.

“They’ve got to be kidding,” the paper wrote. “The message is contrary to mountains of research and flies in the face of simple logic. Someone would have to jog at a pretty good clip for two hours to work off the calories from a Big Mac, large fries and a small Coke Classic. Not too many people are going to do that after every stop at McDonald’s.”

True that …

So why would Blair say such a thing?

Well, according to USC’s response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by the Times, Coca-Cola has provided Blair with more than $3.5 million in funding for various research projects since 2008.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional funding also came to Hand during his tenure at South Carolina.

Oh, and there’s this …

It is unclear how much of the money, if any, ended up as personal income for the professors.

Yeah …

Look, we have no problem with companies purchasing “science.”  Like everything else in the marketplace, it’s for sale.  But USC is a government-run institution which receives hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money, too.

Which is problematic …

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Higher education (especially the way it’s done in South Carolina) is not a core function of government. Accordingly, each and every one of the institutions associated with the Palmetto State’s system must be set free to pursue its destiny in the private sector.

There, Coca-Cola can buy all the “science” it wants …


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sparklecity August 17, 2015 at 2:07 pm

You can partially thank the University of Florida for “Gatorade

CorruptionInColumbia August 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Thank God it was them instead of Florida State. Otherwise, atheletes would be drinking, “Seminole Fluid”.

Mike at the Beach August 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm

That’s good comedy, that.

Tazmaniac August 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm


idiotwind August 17, 2015 at 2:07 pm

ALDI – the worlds greatest grocery store – carries a product called ‘la croix’ and i think also ‘la vie’. its basically carbonated water with just a hint of flavor added – lemon, grapefruit, cranberry, etc. no sugar of any kind. no disgusting artificial sweeteners or that stevia shit. delicious and has basically no calories. i don’t know how sane people drink coke unless its a few drops in a glass full of rum and ice.

not just ALDI August 17, 2015 at 2:30 pm

publix, bi-lo, Kroger, all have ‘la croix’ as well

Squishy123 August 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm

And only good if you enjoy the taste of club soda.

demarke August 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Clearly Canadian is supposedly making a come back too, I know it has sugar in it, but I’ve missed the old blackberry flavor.

AntiBlair August 18, 2015 at 5:47 am

To keep all that sugar down and avoid having people vomit every time they ‘engage in the free market’ and drink coke ‘ our of a glass bootle’ they added phosphoric acid to cut the taste – drop a toddler tooth in a jar a look for it the next morning !

Squishy123 August 18, 2015 at 7:34 pm

How many people hold Coke in their mouth for hours? The whole it’ll dissolve a nail bullshit is just that because drinking a 12 ounce Coke will likely spend less than a minute in your mouth.

erneba August 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm

“..Palmetto State’s system must be set free to pursue its destiny in the private sector.”
I am all for that. The price of an education would probably go down. And getting your “learn on” would probably result in a smarter graduate.
And you could still have your Coke to drink or whatever…

Philip Branton August 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Hmm……..interesting that this article runs the same day that science is being bought and on tour…..

Nölff August 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm

History is repeating itself. Instead of tobacco, it’s junk food. I knew it would eventually happen.

Eventually? August 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Multiple industries have paid to keep lies like this going, including fast food, junk food, juice, the sugar industry, and many others. This is just another bogus study paid for by self-interested corporations trying to protect their profits.

Tazmaniac August 17, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Yeah it’s not like Governments buy their “Science” with taxpayer grants. When Coke does it I’m not forced to subsidize it at threat of arrest or finacial ruin.

Rocky Verdad August 17, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Coke is one of the most popular soft drinks bottled and sold in Mexico. How’s Donald going to fix that – that’s what I want to know.

Mike at the Beach August 17, 2015 at 4:46 pm

This would be really hot news if this was the first instance of “science” being sold to corporate America (or tweaked to fit a political agenda). Small “s” science is, of course, the key to understanding the world. Scientists, however, are people, and as such are not worthy of the worship bestowed upon them. Science, by definition, evolves as hypotheses and theories are tested and refined, but we should always look for motivation when “new” findings are unveiled, at least until humans are somehow removed from that mix.

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Soft Sigh from Hell August 17, 2015 at 7:37 pm

“Exercise science?”

I think we can assume–without much fear of error–that the rules of evidence are likely not nearly as strict as, say, physics.

Barry August 18, 2015 at 6:06 am

Judging from Blair’s physique I would say the evidence disproves the hypothesis!

Twotontiny August 18, 2015 at 5:52 am

At USC any company ( Boeing, IBM, Coke) that drags a 20$ bill through the Osborne administration building or a Dean’s office will become a’friend with benefits’ – total sellout of academic integrity and if the tobacco industry would drop by we’d find somebody the swear that smoking has nothing to do with lung cancer.

Perry August 18, 2015 at 5:58 am

Looking at Sancho Blair I can see why he needs to hypothesize that ‘fat but fit’ is the way to go – that’s how the man rolls! Could supplement the income by ‘eatin mor tchikin’ another USC supporter.

Slartibartfast August 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Personally, I’d be glad if they’d just put cocaine back in and shut up. I’m a Sugar Free TruAde drinker.

. August 18, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Where is The State in this international blockbuster of a story featuring two USC professors in the School of Public Health?


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