Coke attempts to spin the image that soft drinks are not bad for you

Beverage drink giant Coca-Cola is funding a “science-based” research which argues that sugary drinks are not to be blamed for obesity.

According to The New York Times, the world’s largest manufacturer of sugary beverages is backing a new non-profit organisation called the Global Energy Balance Network to fund a research contradicting claims that a bad diet causes obesity.

The organisation has disclosed that Coke had donated US$1.5 million last year. Moving forward, Coke will be providing financial and logistical support to the organisation which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

In a video up on the organisation’s site, its vice president, Steve Blair(pictured), says that while popular media and the scientific press are quick to blame fast food and sugary drinks, he asserts that there is “virtually no compelling evidence that a bad diet is the cause” of obesity. Blair is also a professor in the departments of exercise science and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina.

In this promotional video, Blair makes a case for an active lifestyle, arguing that "Fitness Trumps Fatness".

Coke critics pointed out that the latest funding came on the back of rising efforts to curb marketing sugary drinks to children.

Meanwhile, such partnerships with “researchers” to counter health claims is not uncommon as other brands such as Pepsi, Hershey’s and McDonald’s have all funded The American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a lobby group which has been criticised by medical professionals.