A healthy Coke. Ah, how sweet. Really.
Coca-Cola, in an effort to recoup decreases in sales of the last several years and polish up its tarnished image as a contributor to the obesity epidemic, launched a version of its product in Argentina and Chile last year under the label “Coca-Cola Life” with a green label/can.
The United Kingdom is targeted for release this year. It is sweetened with stevia—a natural sweetener—rather than an artificial one and has less calories than regular Coke.
Coke Life—an oxymoron, if you ask me—does include stevia leaf in its list of ingredients. Along with 4 teaspoons of sugar in one 12-ounce can—two thirds the amount of sugar the World Health Organization says you should have in an entire day. That’s less than regular Coke, for sure. Coke Life has 50 fewer calories, too. Marketing this newest addition to the Coke family of products as its contribution to fighting the obesity war, the company has this to say about its new green child:
“With Coca-Cola Life, we have innovated to provide consumers with a new option with fewer calories. It complements our existing brands and is well-positioned to meet changing lifestyle trends, providing people with a great-tasting, lower calorie cola sweetened from natural sources.
“The launch of Coca-Cola Life is the latest in a series of initiatives from Coke to promote well-being and address obesity in the UK by providing consumers with beverages for every lifestyle and occasion and encouraging people to move more. Recent efforts include launching 250-ml cans across the Coca-Cola portfolio, announcing a commitment to get 1 million people more active by 2020, and pledging to reduce the average calories per liter across its sparkling beverage portfolio by 5 percent by the end of 2014.”
Oh, please. It’s like McDonald’s saying it’s using light mayonnaise in the Big Mac to do its part for preventing heart disease. And labelling Coca-Cola Life green—aside from being an insult—makes consumers think it’s “healthy”. Many natural, organic, and healthful products use green in their branding; this hasn’t been lost on Coke’s marketing department.
Americans eat far more sugar than they should and much more than they realize. Most processed foods add sugar, including breakfast cereals, yogurt, tomato sauce, and juices. Recent studies have shown that sugar (not fat) raises cholesterol levels and causes weight gain; sugar is more addictive than cocaine, dampens the hormone leptin so you overeat, causes inflammation, and makes your body resistant to insulin. Sugar causes cancer, dementia, and liver failure. The average teenage boy will ingest 34 teaspoons of added sugar PER DAY. The sugar overdose starts at the very beginning: it’s even in infant formula.
Not all sweeteners are made alike and there are degrees of bad. Stevia is undoubtedly less bad for you than refined sugar and infinitely better than high fructose corn syrup. But don’t be fooled by the bait and switch. Less sugar is good. But still a lot of sugar, which is bad. It’s interesting that on the website for Action on Sugar, a group of medical professionals and scientists, many articles use Coca-Cola as the benchmark for the amount of sugar a particular food item contains, for example:
“It’s not just the well-known brands, such as CocaCola which has a staggering 9 teaspoons of added sugar, but flavoured water, sports drinks, yogurts, ketchup and ready meals are just a few everyday foods that contain large amounts of hidden sugars.”
Maybe there really is no such thing as bad publicity. It’s good to be the standard by which others are measured.
The bottles and cans of Coca-Cola Life are fully recyclable. Well, that’s nice.