All throughout February (American Heart Month), Coke paid numerous diet and fitness experts to write online posts for nutrition blogs and major newspapers that recommended mini-cans of Coke as a healthy snack. Readers were not told these were paid endorsements. Some experts even went so far as to compare the mini Cokes to portioned-controlled packages of nuts. Last time we checked, liquid sugar doused in chemicals is not the same thing as a snack-pack of almonds. Not even in the slightest.
These falsifications are likely a marketing ploy aimed to counteract Coca-Cola’s declining U.S sales. Over the past two years, consumption of Diet Coke has plunged nearly 15 percent, which is no shocker when you consider that last summer, 63 percent of Americans said that they were avoiding soda, according to a Gallup poll.
Ben Sheidler, a spokesman for the brand told the Associated Press that having health experts endorse their products is no different than product placement in movies and TV shows. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. When celebrity judges on American Idol sip on a Coke, for example, they aren’t saying anything about the health benefits of the product—and even if they did, the public would likely take it with a grain of salt.
The Eat This, Not That! official stance: soda is not and never will be a healthy snack. Yes, the smaller mini cans will save you calories and sugar—but they will also cost you more of your hard-earned cash (ounce-per-ounce they’re more expensive than standard cans) and still serve up artificial dyes that are possible human carcinogens and sweeteners that can lead to weight gain and obesity-related diseases. If you’re sick of plain ol’ H20, opt for unsweetened tea or coffee instead.