The heavy hand of nutrition czars
How government coerces consumer food choices
This is the institutional blog of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and many of its affiliated writers and scholars commenting on economic affairs of the day.
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The Advertising Standards Authority said Coca-Cola broke ad rules when it described its popular line of flavored water products as “delicious and nutritious” in an ad last summer, explaining that consumers wouldn’t expect a drink marketed as nutritious to have between four and five teaspoons of added sugar.
It is amazing that we live in a world where bureaucrats, whose interests are not aligned with the interests of the consumers, are given the power to make the decisions about our lifestyles and food product choices. They not only purport to protect us from ourselves, but they protect us from advertising they deem to be out of alignment with their interests.
What is even more stupefying is how government, especially the U.S. government, has managed to coerce consumer food choices with its collaboration with the very powerful Big Agra-Big Food establishment that is enabled by agricultural subsidies, FDA policy, the medical establishment, and the congressional complex that assigns and directs the privileges and power. These companies – such as Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Tyson, ConAgra, Cargill – rely on government decrees to gain acceptance, markets, and exclusivity for their products. Vitaminwater is owned by the very powerful Coca-Cola Co. As per the usual, the company relies on catchwords such as “natural,” “healthy,” “vitamins,” etc. to win over ignorant consumers who make no effort to understand the simple truth on the other side of the bottle. Here are the ingredients for Vitaminwater (one flavor).
Distilled/deionized, crystalline fructose, citric acid, natural flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), natural flavor extract (for color), electrolytes (calcium, magnesium and potassium), vitamin E acetate, zinc picolinate, taurine, vitamin A palmitate, niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), Siberian ginseng extract, chromium polynicotinate, cyanacolobalamin (B12), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), dragonfruit juice concentrate.
So we have sugar water dressed up in a healthy name with synthetic chemicals (called vitamins) with “only” 13 grams of sugar per serving, but a bottle is 2.5 servings. And I see people buying this stuff – and similar deceptive products – in droves because they have been trained to think it is “healthy.”
Mike Adams, who tends to be hysterical and left-wing on all things food, states this in his article about the U.S.-based, anti-consumer Center for Science in the Public Interest and its lawsuit against Coca-Cola Co. for deceptive advertising in the case of Vitaminwater: