Progressive activists are suing beverage giant Coca-Cola for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully telling consumers that exercise offsets sugar intake, and sugary drinks aren’t that bad.
Coke has long maintained exercise and personal habits are larger factors in obesity and related diseases than drinking sugary beverages, but some activists believe the company knew that exercise and self-control would not be enough to offset the harmful effects of sugar.
A group of activist organizations are suing Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association (ABA) for misleading the public about just how dangerous sugar is to the human body. Coke and ABA “are engaged in an unlawful campaign of deception to mislead and confuse the public about the science linking consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” The Center for Science in the Public Interest, counsel for plaintiffs, said in a statement.
Coke “misleadingly sought to divert focus from sugar-sweetened beverage consumption to a purported lack of exercise as the explanation for the rise in obesity-related chronic conditions, despite the fact that they knew this explanation was not scientifically sound,” the lawsuit, brought by progressive activist group The Praxis Project, said.
Coke wants to help consumers manage daily sugar intake, even though it sees the suit as “legally and factually meritless,” a spokesman told Quartz.
“We take our consumers and their health very seriously and have been on a journey to become a more credible and helpful partner in helping consumers manage their sugar consumption,” the spokesman said.
The lawsuit, filed in Northern California District Court, demands a jury trial, and asks that Coke stop advertising to children under 12, pay for an education campaign, post on its website a warning about the dangers of sugar, and release all research it has about links between sugary drinks and obesity.
Several cities in Northern California, including Oakland and San Francisco, approved a sugary beverage tax in November similar to the tax in Philadelphia, Penn., that went into effect Jan. 1. (RELATED: Massive New Soda Tax In Philly Is Leaving Residents In Shock)
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