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Coca-Cola Pays For Gamecock “Science”

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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 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.

Nice!

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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