Coca-Cola’s Relationship With Health Is Truly Bizarre

A new study finds that while soda companies fund health groups, they also spend millions lobbying against health legislation.

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Soda companies give big bucks to groups that promote public health—while at the same time lobbying against laws that are trying to do the same.

That’s the takeaway from a study published today in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups like the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and Save the Children from 2011-2015. The two companies, represented by American Beverage Association, also spent millions lobbying to defeat legislation aimed at reducing soda consumption across the country. Coke gave the National Institutes of health nearly $2 million in recent years while also spending $6 million each year from 2011 to 2015 to fight efforts on implementing a soda tax in cities like Philadelphia.

Read More: Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies Illustration: Chris Buzelli

“The beverage industry is using corporate philanthropy to undermine public health measures,” Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, told the New York Times.

This isn’t quite breaking news. Soda companies have been funding science of sugar for decades, but today’s study is the first to point out the method of fighting public health measures while also supporting organizations founded on the principle of improving the nation’s health.

For more on how corporate sponsorships can influence public health listen to our Bite podcast episode with Andy Bellatti, founder of Dieticians for Professional Integrity. Or check out Kiera Butler’s dive into Oakland’s deceptively named “grocery tax.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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