Coca-Cola and Nestlé Threatened With Lawsuit Over 'Weight Loss' Drink

envigaBy Dr. John Briffa

Some of you may remember that the Coca-Cola Corporation announced the forthcoming launch of its "weight loss" drink Enviga. Naturally, I felt compelled to blog about this on my own website, and included a calculation which revealed that (if what the Coca-Cola Corporation says is taken at face value) each kilogram of weight lost through the imbibing of the beverage would cost about $650 [1].

Well, finally the Coca-Cola Corporation have got Enviga onto shelves in America, and have done this by teaming up with the food company giant Nestlé. The behemoth formed by the unholy union of these two food companies goes by the name of Beverage Partners Worldwide (BPW). No doubt, with its promise of weight loss, BPW see Enviga as a ticket to further its quest for fat profits.

However, there are signs that BPW's venturing into the weight loss gain will not be all sweetness and light. I read that Connecticut's Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, has asked BPW to substantiate their claims about Enviga's "calorie burning" qualities. Should Blumenthal be provided with these, then he may be none-too-impressed by the fact that the claim is based on a three-day study performed on 31 individuals who were not even overweight to begin with. Oh, and the study was funded by Nestlé. And let's not forget that recent evidence shows that industry funding does seem to significantly up the chances of favorable research results [2].

It's not just Connecticut's Attorney General who is on BPW's case, either. An American body by the name of Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) last December threatened to sue BPW if it continued to make its weight loss and calorie-burning claims with regard to Enviga. On February 1, CSPI formalized its objections by filing a suit against BPW in the Federal District Court in New Jersey.

I am going to keep a keen eye on how these actions against BPW unfold. Whatever the result, I am personally gratified that some individuals feel strongly enough about potentially misleading nutritional claims made by food companies to do something to save us from them.

I'd like to leave you with a quote from CSPI's executive director Michael F. Jacobson in which he refers to Enivga's claims and cost: "Imagine two of the companies partly responsible for the general fattening of America now urging us to pay $4 a day to slim down with Enviga. The chutzpah!" [3].

It does bear thinking about, doesn't it?



2. Lesser LI, et al. (2007) Relationship between Funding Source and Conclusion among Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles. PLoS Med 4(1): e5 doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040005


Dr John Briffa is a London-based doctor, author, and health writer with an interest in nutrition and natural medicine.
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