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May 22, 2018

These Bears – Not So Sweet


Everyone knows this bear. Probably after Winnie the Pooh and Yogi, it’s the most recognizable bear on the planet. Heck, outside of the US it’s probably THE most recognized bear on the planet. It’s also likely the only reason many school kids even know what a polar bear is (but let’s not get distracted by the terrible state of our k-12 schools in America).

This is about looking at this bear in a different way.

As a former die-hard Coca-Cola drinker, I’d look forward to these commercials as a kid. They meant Christmas was approaching. Suddenly, glass bottles would appear in the stores around the same time which, I’m sorry, is the only way to consume this nectar of the gods which is smartly branded ‘Coca-Cola.’ As a very impressionable child I would actually collect the bottles, keep them safe and unchipped, in hopes that one day they would be worth something. Unfortunately, like most of my baseball cards and comic books, they magically disappeared after a garage sale.

After I finish this article, I need to have a talk with my mom about reimbursing me for my Spiderman #1 that was ‘disappeared.’

About a decade ago, I started reading about this thing called “high fructose corn syrup,” and watching films like Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me. I read about the devastating effects it can have on your body. According to Dr. Mark Hyman “HFCS and cane sugar are not biochemically identical, or processed the same way by the body,” and “HFCS contains contaminants including mercury that are not regulated or measured by the FDA.” Basically, they’re a chemical concoction to save money for food companies and will likely make you obese/diabetic. Not a delicious scenario. I was mortified to find that Coca-Cola used it by the bucket, and that the USA was one of the few countries where it did this (Mexican Coke has real sugar). I then started looking at other products, like mac and cheese, packaged fruit, and ketchup. Yeah, even ketchup. It was everywhere. At the time, I was lucky I was living down the street from an organic market, so I quit. Immediately (as in the same week), I felt better. I had more energy, felt less sluggish, and while it was tough to get through caffeine and sugar cravings, I found other ways of getting my fix – more coffee (no sugar), and eating fresh fruit throughout the day.

So what does this have to do with bears?

Well, one smart not-for-profit scientific group has decided to use the bears (or as least as close to their likeness as they can, without getting sued) to get the point across on the dangers of sugary drinks, like Coca-Cola. It’s a bit sad, but worth watching. I’m sending it to my kid sister  in hopes that she’ll cut out her (minimal) Sprite consumption completely.

Check out the site  – there’s a lot of good info, presented simply and smartly. The branding folks at Coca-Cola would be proud.




Speaking of polar bears – please also check out this video from the guy I work for, Greg Palast, talking about Coca-Cola’s plans for a polar bear refuge in Alaska.

And a hat tip to for the video of therealbears.



4 Responses to “These Bears – Not So Sweet”
  1. mlaiuppa says:

    You can also get Kosher Coca Cola seasonally. It also only has sugar.

    I stopped all HFCS 4 years ago and stopped soda shortly thereafter.

    Now I’m cooking more and more from scratch. Even ketchup and mayo. Allows me to control both sugar and salt.

    Feeling better and better.

  2. JimInWA says:

    John said, “… buy our reps in Washington who …”.
    Since you didn’t say “Washington, DC”, you must mean Washington state. Which “reps” are you talking about in Washington please?

  3. John says:

    A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. But what you wrap it up in makes a huge difference. A calorie from a carrot is better for you than a calorie from sugar. And the corporate food industry has done its best to addict all of us to unnecessary high fructose corn syrup. The industries buy our reps in Washington who subsidize corn and put a high tax on imported sugar. The corn is then used to make syrup that is put in almost anything you buy in the store or a fast food restaurant. When I started reading labels, I was amazed. You have to work very hard to get away from this stuff.

    • Mo says:

      Wrong. Some calories are worse than others. Fructose is metabolized differently than glucose, which is mediated by insulin. Fructose gets processed by the liver directly into fat. So – not only is sugar addicting, but fructose has even worse side effects, one of which is failing to trigger satiety, leading to over-eating:

      Robert Lustig’s YouTube lecture, The Bitter Truth, tells all about the different metabolic pathways.

      Or, for a quicker read, the NY Times article “Is Sugar Toxic?”

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