The New York Times recently published an in-depth article on one of its blogs exposing the Coca-Cola Company’s efforts to promote flawed science downplaying the importance of cutting calories — particularly empty calories — in order to lose weight. The company has been enlisting scientists to push the discredited idea that how much you eat doesn’t matter when it comes to losing weight as long as you exercise enough.
The efforts of Coca-Cola and other fast food companies to hide their role in the obesity epidemic have rightly been compared to the deceptive techniques used by tobacco companies to hide their role in causing cancer. The New York Times is engaging in responsible journalism by exposing this scam.
Will the paper turn its eye to the equally deceptive scientific techniques used to “prove” genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe for consumption?
Coke paid $5.5 million to faux-scientific nonprofit
The New York Times article highlights recent revelations that Coca-Cola has provided major financial and logistical backing to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network. This organization publicly promotes the idea that people trying to lose weight should worry less about what they eat and simply focus on doing more exercise.
The article reveals that Coke paid $1.5 million to get the group started and has also paid nearly $4 million to fund the projects of two of its founding scientists. The organization’s website is registered to Coca-Cola headquarters. The company is listed as the site administrator.
The organization’s creation was announced in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in March. Shortly thereafter, the same journal published another editorial blasting groups like the Global Energy Balance Network and their fast food funders, accusing them of using tactics reminiscent of tobacco companies to hide the effect of fast food on the obesity epidemic.
The position promoted by Coca-Cola is flat-out wrong, scientists note. In the abstract, the energy balance concept is correct. In reality, how much people eat — and what they eat — has a far greater effect than how much they exercise. Sugary drinks and other high-glycemic foods cause the body to gain weight and keep it on.
In addition, exercise burns far fewer calories than most people think. In order to burn off the calories contained in a single 12-ounce can of Coke, you would have to walk three miles.
“Coca-Cola’s sales are slipping, and there’s this huge political and public backlash against soda, with every major city trying to do something to curb consumption,” said public health lawyer Michele Simon. “This is a direct response to the ways that the company is losing. They’re desperate to stop the bleeding.”
Where’s the expose on GMO “science”?
Given that the New York Times approved the publication of a 2,367-word blog post about Coke’s junk science, can we hope to see an article of comparable length exposing the shady science of biotechnology companies soon?
Biotech companies regularly claim that rodent studies have shown their GMOs to be safe. However, a recent study in PLOS ONE conducted by researchers from the University of Caen in France revealed a fundamental problem with nearly all of these studies: they lacked a scientifically valid control group.
The French researchers conducted in-depth testing on 13 separate dried rodent chows of the type regularly used in GMO feed studies. The chows were produced on five separate continents. The researchers found that 11 of the 13 chows contained Roundup-resistant GMOs, nine contained Roundup itself, and all 13 contained levels of toxins high enough to cause health problems over the long term.
This means that any study in which the control group was fed one of these chows is scientifically meaningless; the harm caused by GMOs would have to be enormous to show up against the background noise of the toxic diets the control animals are being fed.
GMO safety data consists of a giant scam with potentially serious consequences. So how about that expose, New York Times?
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