Coca-Cola Advertising For Obesity Is Like Tobacco Advertising For Lung Cancer

January 21, 2013

Coca-Cola Advertising For Obesity Is Like Tobacco Advertising For Lung Cancer

by Terry Simpson, MD, FACS

When Coca-Cola started advertising about obesity, my first thought was – what irony.

There is one thing most weight loss surgeons tell their patients: get off soda. There are a lot of reasons we tell patients this, and it never ceases to amaze me how many of my patients drink soda.

Here are the reasons:

We want you to be healthy, and drinking cola, or other soda, is not something to be healthy. They are filled with salt, sugar, or artificial sweeteners that are contrary to what you risked your life for. You had surgery, you risked your life to have a better one: that better one is not with soda.

Artificial sweeteners increase your appetite. The more “sweetness” is detected, the more food it takes to balance that flavor. Your body likes balance. Studies have shown that you decrease artificial sweeteners you will decrease the amount of food eaten.

Some of our patients became our patients because of drinking cans of soda a day. One became obese drinking a case of soda a day. After weight loss surgery stopped, and kept her weight off. Once you gain weight, you not only have to change the behavior that got you to that weight – as well as have surgery to help get rid of the excess. Just because the surgery helps you lose weight does not mean you can have “a little” of the poison that got you to our hands.

Fructose is half of what makes up table sugar, and 55% of the sweetener they use in most sodas, as well as fruit juices (like Welch’s). This may be one of the single most common causes of obesity. In non-human studies one third of the calories of fructose become fat. So imagine drinking something where part of it becomes fat no matter how you need the energy.

Better alternatives to soda: Water – it is all around, easy and free. Diet green tea. This works great because it helps weight loss. Coffee with no additives (the kind people drank before Starbucks). Other tea.

Terry Simpson's Photo

Terry Simpson, MD, FACS is a bariatric surgeon practicing in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the author of several books about weight loss surgery, including Losing The Last 30 Lbs., available here.  Visit Dr. Simpson at and