Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Coke made Santa fat.

Coca-Cola has been often credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus: The rosy-cheeked fellow with plenty of girth appeared as part of its advertising as early as the 1930s. The old-fashioned version of St. Nicholas, the European saint on whom Santa is based, is depicted as more svelte. But amid growing concerns about rising obesity rates, Santa’s size has begun to take on a new implications. “Soda continues to be blamed for obesity, and proponents of obesity-reduction programs continue to clamor to tax the beverage,” the Mintel report states.
Rising consumption of sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, according to a 2012 report published by the Institute of Medicine. Some 26% of American adults defined themselves as obese in 2011, according to the Well-Being Index calculated by market research group Gallup and health-care consultancy Healthways. And too much sugar consumption is one of the most direct causes of Type 2 diabetes, says Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. In fact, drinking one to two sugary drinks per day increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 26%, a 2010 study published by the Diabetes Journal found.
The industry disputes the idea that such studies prove that soft drinks are a major part of or even cause the problem. “None of the studies say that drinking a soft drink will make you obese,” says Christopher Gindlesperger, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association. But he says that the soft-drink industry has nonetheless responded to these concerns and significantly reduced the amount of sugar in drinks: 45% of soft drinks sold now have zero calories, and the average calorie count per serving has fallen 23% since 1998. “It says a lot for consumer tastes and what our companies are doing,” he says. A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola says the company has helped reduce the number of “beverage calories” sold in schools by 90% since 2006, when Coca-Cola joined the Alliance for a Healthier Generation — a joint initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association — to create a new school-beverage policy in the U.S.