CrossFit has warned against consuming too much junk food since its founding. Only in the past few years, however, has CrossFit Inc. directly targeted junk food producers.
You may have seen CrossFit.com or CrossFit’s social media outlets post information about how PepsiCo and Coca-Cola influence health organizations. These posts attract controversy. Some of the responses are absurd and easily dismissible (what does food have to do with fitness? Stick to exercise).
On the other hand, some commenters sincerely express their consternation about why CrossFit has a problem with Big Soda.
Two of the most common types of responses to CrossFit’s Big Soda content are:
2. Soda is obviously not responsible for obesity and diabetes. Laziness and gluttony are. Why are you posting this? (Example 1. Example 2. Etc)
Sometimes these comments even occur in sequence. Yet no one seems to realize they contradict each other:
We won’t address #2 here. Other articles have examined the relationship between soda, added sugar and chronic disease.
Let’s look more deeply at #1, though. Are CrossFit’s posts merely reiterating what’s obvious to us all? Does everyone already know that soda contributes to obesity and diabetes? The plethora of aghast soda-drinking commenters may disprove that notion, but let’s take a look at some research.
To be sure, some Americans have cut back. The New York Times reported that “sales of full-calorie soda in the United States have plummeted by more than 25 percent.”
This isn’t the victory that it may seem. A recent CDC study found that nearly 1/3 of respondents drink at least one sugary drink per day. The CDC study suggests around 1/3 of the population is significantly increasing its risk of disease just by drinking sweet beverages. And it calls to mind another CDC statement: up to 1/3 of Americans will have type 2 diabetes by 2050.
Why are so many Americans still drinking soda? A 2014 study published in the Nutrition Research journal surveyed 3,361 American adults and found that,
less than 40% of participants identified added sugars as a primary concern when choosing beverages despite public health recommendations to reduce the intake of added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages. Results suggest that there may be a considerable level of consumer misunderstanding or confusion about the types of sugars in beverages. More consumer research and education are needed with the goal of helping consumers make more informed and healthy beverage choices.
No, not everyone knows that soda contributes to diabetes and obesity. But that can change.