Quote of the Day – 2009/10/21

Soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and sweetened bottled water combined contribute 5.5% of the calories in the average American diet, according to the National Cancer Institute. It’s difficult to understand why the beverages we and others provide are being targeted as the primary cause of weight gain when 94.5% of caloric intake comes from other foods and beverages.

                                    — Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company

Comments (7)

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  1. Ken says:

    Actually I have some sympathy for this guy. Why is everybody picking on his products?

  2. Joe S. says:

    Interesting point.

  3. Brian W. says:

    Calories are units of energy. We all know that it takes 1 calorie to heat 1 gram of water 1 degree celsius.

    So if you drink really cold soda, with lots of no-calorie ice, you actually burn calories to warm it up to body temperature, right?

    So maybe the government would do better by coming up with a way to tax warm soda.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    Bottled sodas are little more than a proxy variable for an advanced, affluent society. A generation ago mothers would have whipped up a batch of iced-tea or made a pitcher of Kool-Aid. These products were probably sweetened with cane or beat sugar.

    Public health advocates malign sodas, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, as a major cause of obesity. But I suspect living in an affluent society with an efficient food distribution system is more to blame. Indeed, the efficient food distribution system is also a proxy variable for an advanced society with a highly specialized division of labor. Mothers now work and outsource beverage preparation.

  5. Charlie says:

    If obesity should be taxed, how about a progressive tax on clothes sizes*?

    The higher the size the more the tax. S=0% M=5% L=10% etc. This would actually capture 100% of the calorie intake.

    Tax ideas that are as absurd as the soda tax should be DOA, and it is a sad state when they are taken as seriously as this Congress has been looking at them.

    (Not a real suggestion)

  6. Bart Ingles says:

    As I recall, dietary calories are really kilocalories. So 1 food calorie should heat 1 kg of water by 1 degree C. Which I think means that a regular soft drink contains more than enough energy to boil itself.

  7. James says:

    It takes a long time for doctors to catch up with Biochemists, but 25 years still seems like a long time.

    In the mid 80’s, biochemists worked out that calories are not the cause of weight gain or loss. Specifically, weight gain is driven by hormones which shut down metabolism and drive hunger – or vice versa.

    These hormones are driven by hormones from fat cells.

    The fat cell hormones are driven by insulin.

    Insulin is driven by carbohydrate consumption. Some carbohydrates drive insulin production higher faster than others. Here are the drivers of insulin in order of most to least.

    1) High Fructose Corn Syrup.
    2) Refined starch – white flour, spaghetti
    3) Sucrose – cane sugar, beet sugar
    4) Starch tied to fiber – whole grains, vegetables.

    Protein and Fat drive insulin production very minimally.

    After decades of trying to drive this simple fact into the consciousness of medical professionals, the public health people are starting to catch on. The Doctors are just beginning to figure it out. Evidently, the CEOs of soft drink companies are the last to know.

    In general, I think the tax idea probably isn’t a good one, but that Soft Drink executive sounds dishonest or lost.