One health advocacy organization has a musical message for fans of sugary drinks: the time to buy the world a Coke is over.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest released a spoof this week on the famous "Hilltop" Coca-Cola ad, revising lyrics that once linked soda consumption with happiness to share a message about the dangers of over-indulging.
"I'd like to teach the world about what sugar did to me," participants sing to the familiar tune.
CSPI tied its video to a social media campaign with the hashtag #ChangeTheTune, attracting attention on what it calls the misleading nature of soda advertising.
"For the past 45 years, Coca-Cola and other makers of sugar drinks have used the most sophisticated and manipulative advertising techniques to convince children and adults alike that a disease-producing drink will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson in a press release. "We thought it was time to change the tune."
According to a fact sheet on sugary drinks from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, soft drinks and other beverages like sweetened energy drinks wreak havoc on American diets.
"People who drink sugary beverages do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food, and studies show that people consuming sugary beverages don't compensate for their high caloric content by eating less food," Harvard reported.
In other words, ordering a soda instead of water is a recipe for a bigger waistline, leading many health researchers to blame the popularity of soda for rising obesity rates.
"If you were to drink just one can of a sugar-sweetened soft drink every day, and not cut back on calories elsewhere, you could gain up to 5 pounds a year," Harvard noted, highlighting several research studies that have found a link between increased sugary drink consumption and weight gain.
A new report, released this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that more than 67.6 million Americans over the age of 25 are obese.
"This is a wake-up call to implement policies and practices designed to combat overweight and obesity," study co-author Lin Yang told the Los Angeles Times, noting that obesity can lead to a variety of chronic health conditions.
In the video, people who actually suffer from conditions like diabetes, hypertension and tooth decay sing CSPI's lyrics, standing next to health care providers in a hospital room instead of on a sunny hillside.
"Please drink soda less. This isn't happiness," they sing.
The American Beverage Association (ABA), a trade group that represents soda companies, told Time that the commercial unfairly characterizes companies like Coca-Cola as the enemy of public health.
"Our industry is committed to being part of real solutions to public health challenges like obesity," wrote Tracey Halliday, an ABA representative. "We've put clear calorie information on all of our cans, bottles and packs."
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