I once had a commenter attempt to dismiss the invaluable resource that is Junkfood Science by stating that Sourcewatch claims the author, Sandy Szwarc, is being paid by corporate interests. I finally got around to taking a look at Sourcewatch, and one potential bias they point out got my attention:
Another large sponsor of the CEI, the Coca-Cola company, which could benefit financially from easing the consumers’ fears of calorie intake, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, Type II Diabetes, and the possible consequences of obesity.
Setting aside the “obesity” panic scare tactics, I find the site’s interpretation of a Coca-Cola company connection noteworthy. Why? Because, as I first learned in Laura Fraser’s Losing It, diet sodas are considered part of the diet industry. I was quite surprised by this. According to Coca-Cola’s website, Diet Coke is “the most popular sugar free soft drink in America!”
Diet Coke was the third best-seller of any soft drink in 2007 with 10 percent of the market share, according to Beverage Digest. It just made me laugh to see how Sourcewatch chose to spin this connection between JFS and the Coca-Cola Company. Of course, another way to spin it actually results in the exact opposite “potential bias.” Imagine, Junkfood Science is written by someone with a link to a weight loss diet company!
I’m not seriously claiming JFS is influenced by ties to companies like Coca-Cola in either direction. I try to be a discerning reader, and JFS has never given me cause not to take its content at face value. It’s very important and iconoclastic work Szwarc is doing, and I thank her for it.
[Edited for emphasis.]