The Global Energy Balance Network, a shady health-related organization that was largely funded by sugary beverage giant Coca-Cola, has vanished into oblivion, reports Consumerist. The organization's goal had been to convince Americans this nation's obesity problem shouldn't be linked to diet, but instead to exercise habits. It was recently revealed that Coca-Cola paid the GEBN "unrestricted grants" in excess of $1.5 million.
Obviously, the GEBN and Coca-Cola denied the grants had any influence on the organization's research and message. Though having ceased operations, the GEBN says "resource limitations" forced it to shut down, according to a note left on its official website.
With sugar-filled sodas increasingly falling out of favor, Coca-Cola spends an a great deal in an attempt to suggest soda is actually good for consumers. Earlier this year, the company was caught partnering with "fitness and nutrition experts" who agreed to write about mini-cans of Coke as a "healthy treat." Aiming for transparency, the Coca-Cola admitted in September it's spent $118.6 million over the past five years on "scientific research" and "health and well-being partnerships."
The company is doing all it can to stem the anti-soda tide. It's facing obstacles such as a soda tax passed in Berkeley, Calif., last fall; the removal of sugary colas from the Wendy's kids' menu; and beverage companies' own pledges to cut product calories. Coca-Cola has not responded to an Eater request for comment.