Coca-Cola sued health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages

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Bert Perry's picture

...that will probably parallel the tobacco settlement of 20 years back for similar reasons.  Everybody knew tobacco was bad--hardly anyone gets lung cancer without it or asbestos being involved--but when it came down to proof of causality, that actually came, according to a news article I read, in the 1990s.  Similarly, anyone who passed health class knows the correlation between sugar and diabetes, and can calculate sugar to fat, but proving it has something to do with Coca-Cola is elusive.

And a note for the Post; that's Diet Coke in the picture.  


Ron Bean's picture

I dare these pastors(?) to preach one or two sermons on gluttony.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Aaron Blumer's picture

Because all those helpless people kept on chugging coke and couldn't stop themselves....   and none of them ever ate a donut or ate anything else sugary in their life. All Coke's fault. No genetic factors either. And they ran miles every day to stay in shape but that Coke just kept the pounds from coming off and kept the crud in the arteries. The multiple servings of spinach a day--no good. The Coke those armed thugs made them drink just canceled out all that healthy eating.

... and then you have all those false claims from Coke that it will make you stronger, lose weight, develop a healthier cardiovascular system, and reverse the aging process. Lies. All lies.

And there just aren't any other evils that could be more important than this Coke plague, so...  yeah, count me in.

Bert Perry's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

I dare these pastors(?) to preach one or two sermons on gluttony.

I think this many, many times, generally when I'm in a congregation full of obese people and the pastor is preaching on a sin I'm pretty sure most of them are not committing.  But especially this time, well said, Ron.

I also got in big trouble one time for teaching on the sin of covetousness and letting people know that if they had barns full of things they weren't ever going to use, God was, per James, going to judge them.  That one went over about as well as a lesson on gluttony would go over in our semi-rural area for obvious reasons.

David R. Brumbelow's picture


Very good article on gluttony.  Many misuse the word today.  

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

I would tend to "lost", actually, as obesity actually is linked pretty closely to a stricter definition of gluttony.  The trick is that unless it is stretched by feasting, the ordinary human stomach holds about a pint, or a pound, of food.  So if you've got any portion of lower calorie foods in your diet--fruits, vegetables, beverages, whatever--you are going to have trouble getting a huge surplus of calories.  

Gut check (pun intended) is that if you can down a steak of 1 lb or greater with sides, drink a Big Gulp /Super Big Gulp/etc.., make two or more trips to the steam table at Old Country Buffet, down a supersized meal at McDonald's, or down an entire rack of ribs at the BBQ, you have probably stretched your stomach through gluttony.  I know I'm guilty, and I'm paying for it in some ways.

Regarding the Biblical passages about being too lean, it's worth noting that physiologically, the body starts breaking down when it gets below about 5% body fat.  So both Scripture and science speak to a "sweet spot" in terms of body fat;  higher than starvation, lower than feeling sufficient in ourselves.  Scientifically, it's probably about 5-20% for men, 10-25% for women.  

Really, we've got a culture of gluttony, and as we look at what health conditions we pray for each Wednesday--signs of heart disease, diabetes, various skeletal problems--we might do little better than to point this besetting sin of our culture out periodically. 


Ron Bean's picture

Or at least a lack of discipline.

--If the majority of your eating is done without utensils.

--If you put food in your mouth when you already have food IN your mouth. (Most people do this.)

--If you can't see your belt buckle or shoes or can't button your suit jacket.

--If your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight

--If a little kid in your church pokes a finger in your belly and says your fat

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Aaron Blumer's picture

It's actually quite easy to gain weight steadily without "feasting." The reason is that (a) as I pointed out in the linked article, most of can earn our living sitting all day. (b) We live longer, and what used to be dying age is now middle age, so we have years of reduced metabolic rate added onto relatively little opportunity for exercise.
Some of us can keep calorie consumption down below 1400 a day and not lose weight... and at 1500 gain weight slowly. All the while, feeling hungry most of the time.

Aaron Blumer's picture

"Feasting" is God's idea. At least 5 major feasts instituted in the Mosaic Covenant.

A 12 oz can of Coke has fewer calories than your typical 12 oz serving of orange juice or apple juice (admittedly, also with a whole lot less beneficial other ingredients, but calories are calories.)

Bert Perry's picture

Aaron, while it's correct that about 1500 calories is about the daily caloric need before exercise of an average sized adult--say about 150 pounds--the average American adult gets 1200 more calories than that at about 2700.  Unless one's diet is almost exclusively high calorie density foods--say like high fat cheeses and Hostess fruit pies and such--it's hard to get there without stretching your stomach.

Side note; the average American adult is, not surprisingly, 168 lbs with a BMI of about 26.3, clearly in the "overweight" category.  

And if you're eating a lot of foods that have a ton of calories but leave your stomach quickly enough to want more--say that Coca-Cola guzzled by the bottle--Proverbs 24:13 comes to mind.  Again, if we look at our "organ recitals" we perform each Wednesday at prayer service, we need to start taking the sin of gluttony seriously.  (my pickup adds "covetousness" as well, having helped move amazing amounts of junk from many houses)

Ron Bean's picture

I had a heart attack last fall and have entered the "watching what I eat and reading nutritional information" discipline. A Christian nutritionist pointed out that we often condemn smoking as harming the temple of God but then assault that same temple with a knife and fork. (I'd added a bay window to the temple porch but that was 40+ pounds ago.)

BTW, reading labels have pretty much convinced me that restaurants, and especially buffets, are a plot to kill us all!

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

You've got the:

  • Beer companies
  • Liquor companies
  • Fast food
  • Candy companies
  • Packed goods companies (think Kraft "Mac and Cheese")
  • Restaurants: "Ruth Chris" and her steaks

This is a frivolous lawsuit 

Why not (as long as we are going to really make the world safe from ourselves), ban:

  • Skydiving
  • Paragliding
  • Tanning
  • Tattooing 
  • All sex (think of all the unsafe sex!!!)
  • All bars
  • All restaurants: (Think "Cheesecake Factory" or "Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory")
  • Swimming in the ocean (sharks)
  • Swimming in lakes (microbes that can kill)
  • Swimming in rivers (flash floods)
  • Forks - you can choke on a fork / spoons and knives. One can choke without a fork too!


Bert Perry's picture

Here's a link to it--Strong's 2282--which is linked to Strong's 2287.  The question I've got is simple; does the word itself always connote overeating?  Yes, it is a feast, a celebration, but the word also connotes a pilgrimage, dancing, and more.  So while I'd personally guess people would bring out the more tender meats, the more flavorful cheeses and wines, and the like for such, I really don't know that you would necessarily link it with overeating.  Put mildly, try cutting the rug when your gut is about to burst.  

No objection to drinking Coke on occasion, or orange juice, or whatever, but just like Spurgeon's doctor told him how to cure his Bright's disease, and just like Ron and I have had doctors loving enough to confront us for our lifestyles, I think it's incumbent upon pastors to look at the organ recital itinerary and remind people "if y'all would lose some weight, we could get around to praying more for our missionaries, donchaknow?"

By the way, it's worth noting that fruit juices are listed in The Mayo Clinic Diet as sugar sources, not fruits.  Yes, you get some vitamins and such in there, too, but the kicker is that since sugars go into your blood almost immediately, caloric intake via fruit juices is not significantly limited by the size of your stomach.  

(drink that Coke, but maybe the 7 ounce size our dads enjoyed on dates in days of yore?)

Greg Long's picture

Without doing a ton of digging into the Hebrew, I'd have to imagine the word feasting does indeed mean eating past the point of being technically "full." I don't think there's anything wrong with a celebratory feast, the perfect example being the Thanksgiving meal.

The main problem is that while most people in biblical times probably struggled to eat enough simply to stay alive and healthy, we Americans basically "feast" (overeat, based on calorie count) every single meal.

Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Bert Perry's picture could assume that "feast" might ordinarily indicate eating "more than you need", and agreed 100% that it's still quite different from overeating routinely, but it strikes me even so that the reality of things like dancing at these celebrations, as well as the reality of "eat too much now and you might starve letter", would have put a lot of restraint on these parties.  

(no debate that 5x feasts per year and a few weddings in town would be less damaging than every night at Chez Mac, but still)