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Blumenthal, Experts Call on Universities to Distance Themselves from Coca-Cola’s Latest Threat to Public Health

Coca-Cola Paid $1.5 Million to Found Research Organization Promoting Exercise, Not Diet, as Best Way to Combat Obesity

Coca-Cola Attempts to Whitewash Role of Sugary Drinks in Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes

(Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and public health experts decried Coca-Cola’s latest threat to public health, and called on universities to distance themselves from the company’s efforts to buy “research” promoting exercise, not diet, as the best way to combat obesity.

An article by The New York Times recently exposed that Coca-Cola has paid $1.5 million to found a nonprofit organization named Global Energy Balance Network to support “research” promoting exercise as the best way to combat obesity—playing down the well-established role that diet, including sugary drinks, plays in controlling weight and preventing heart disease and diabetes.

While the scientists funded by Coca-Cola claim the company will not control the outcome of their research, researchers have shown the studies financed by beverage companies including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo were five times more likely to claim no connection between sugary drinks and weight gain than studies without such conflicts of interest.

Blumenthal and advocates condemned Coca-Cola’s latest attempt to purchase dangerous and misleading “science” and called on the universities and researchers receiving such funds to distance themselves from this threat to public health in letters to West Virginia University, University of South Carolina, and University of Colorado.

Overconsumption of sugary-drinks is a major driver of obesity, heart disease and diabetes and any attempt by Coca-Cola to purchase research to the contrary is a danger to public health that must be stopped. I am calling on the public institutions and researchers receiving these tainted funds to denounce and distance themselves from this threat to public health,” Blumenthal said.