WILTSE: Trying to change soda-drinking habits is a tough sell

I read an article recently that Coca-Cola is going to do their part about the problem of obesity in the United States by increasing their advertising for diet drinks.
Feb 28, 2013

All I can say is, “Ha! Fat chance.” Pun intended.

While it is true that one of the major reasons for obesity is the over-consumption of soda, there is very little that will be done about it. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I saw extra large bottles (2 liters each, I think) of Seven-Up, Pepsi and Coke prominently on display. There were no diet drinks on display. The supermarkets tend not to display items that don’t sell.

I wonder about the sincerity of the Coca-Cola company. I haven’t noticed any increase in the advertisement of diet sodas. I also haven’t noticed any decrease in the advertisement of sodas containing sugar. I surely haven’t noticed any decrease in the display of large bottles of soda. Pretty soon, they will be selling it by the barrel.

In short, I think that the promise to combat obesity is just lip service and will have no affect on the consumption of sugary sodas.

One thing that might help is to eliminate the habit-forming drugs that form part of the ingredients of sodas, such as caffeine. Fat chance of that, too. If there is anything the soda companies will not do (or even admit it happens) is to eliminate habit-forming drugs that comprise components of their drinks. This seems to be a necessity for young adults. I notice many of them walk around all day with a soda in their hand — something that few of us oldsters do. We also need our daily fix of caffeine each morning.

For me, a couple of cups of coffee will do the job. After three cups, I have all the caffeine I need for the day. I certainly don’t want a can of soda in my hand for the entire day.

I think that young people should get into the coffee habit. There seems to be less caffeine in soda and it becomes necessary to drink it all day in order to get one's necessary quantity.

I give the Coca-Cola advertising campaign a 0.05 percent chance of succeeding. In other words, it is a hopeless cause. They are merely going to advertise only to their advantage. After all, why else would a company advertise?

I give the Coca-Cola company’s advertising campaign to overcome obesity about a 0.3 percent chance of succeeding.

A better method to overcome obesity might be to change the size of the drinks. When I was a kid, the standard size Coke was the famous 8-ounce bottle. This was the only way you could buy it. It cost a nickel.

Other companies came into being and the norm became the 12-ounce bottle, co Coke abandoned the famous 8-ounce bottle. So, the 12-ounce can is still the norm. Then, the 16-ounce bottle became the norm.

I pass the vending machines (of which Coke has almost a monopoly) up at the mall every day. The new norm is much larger today. I don’t know what it is, since I never buy any, but I think the size of the bottles is 20 ounces.

To some people, 20 ounces is a mere sip. Some people buy a couple of liters and sip on it all day. Most of the buyers are, of course, teenagers. I don’t know where they can find room to put all that stuff down their gullet, but they somehow manage it.

If they really want to check obesity, they should go back to the classic 8-ounce bottle. They could sell it for about 50 cents.

I can’t really blame the company for selling such a large bottle. All they are doing is giving the customer what they want. I guess we will just have to be content with being fat and unhealthy.

— By Ralph Wiltse, Tribune community columnist

Comments

jvc

I think it's interesting Prof. Wiltse that you mention that one does not see a lot people your age drinking pop as opposed to coffee. Remember the campaign in the 1980s that suggested a "Coke in the Morning?" At the time I was horrified to think anyone would drink pop so early; now I do myself. I think you are right about the habit-forming drugs in soda, although I would argue that sugar is as addictive as caffeine. I have tried many times to give up drinking pop - pop that doesn't have caffeine in it, and the addiction is very strong.
Good article.

retired DOC

If the king of NYC really knew anything he would have put the limit at 0.5 litre which is 16.9 oz. Like it or not more and more things are going metric. New York knew enough to put the new magazine limit at 7 rounds which just so happens to be what the standard Colt 1911 holds and is made in New York.

whateveridonteven

(I'm just posting this just to say it but..) soda doesn't create obesity. Obesity and being overweight is created by descisions made by the people who choose to live a certain way or sometimes cannot afford to purchase healthier options (however that is debatable. In any regard, companies are not to blame for people being overweight but the personal choice of the people who consume.

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