As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently accused Coca-Cola of being a “poison” while being interviewed on Boston sports radio station WEEI. He also took a swipe at Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal, mocking the widely-held belief that it’s actually a real food. Stating the obvious, Brady pointed out that the corporate giants who make these products “pay lots of money for advertisements” that brainwash the public into buying them. “I think we’ve been lied to by a lot of food companies over the years, by a lot of beverage companies over the years. But we still do it. That’s just America,” he said.
The Federal Trade Commission backs up what Brady says, reporting that food and beverage companies annually spend about $1.8 billion advertising fast food, carbonated drinks and breakfast cereal to children.
Kellogg released a statement saying that Frosted Flakes “is a delicious and nutritious breakfast,” despite the fact that children’s breakfast cereal contains 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber and 60% more sodium than cereals made for adults.[2,3]
As for Coca-Cola, it denies being poisonous, reacting to Brady’s claim with a public statement: “All of our beverages are safe and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. We offer more than 200 low and no-calorie beverages in the U.S. and Canada and a wide variety of smaller portion sizes of our regular drinks. As a responsible beverage provider and marketer, we prominently provide calorie and sugar information for our beverages so people can choose what makes sense for them and their families.”
How consuming any of those 200 sugary beverages “makes sense” Coke does not mention. Probably because, as health writer David Gutierrez reports, “sugary drinks such as Coke and Pepsi kill nearly 200,000 people per year worldwide, according to a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University and published in the journal Circulation.”
Gutierrez continues: “Drawing on prior studies delineating the health effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, the researchers determined the effect that the sugar consumption they had calculated would have on death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. They concluded that in 2010 alone, sugar-sweetened beverages killed 6,450 people from cancer, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease and 133,000 from diabetes, for a total of nearly 185,000 deaths.”
According to the same study: “The United States suffers 25,000 deaths per year directly attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages. This is nearly the same as the 30,000 to 40,000 people killed in automobile crashes each year (according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1,600 of those deaths are caused just by distracted teenage drivers).”