Thursday, December 07, 2006

Enviga - Burn your Money....I mean your Calories

Coca Cola and Nestle, a match made in marketing heaven, are about to release Enviga, which according to Dr. Rhona Applebaum, the chief scientist of the Coca Cola company (that's what the press release calls her anyhow), the "perfect partnership of science and nature".

So what does this perfect partnership entail? A crap load of caffeine (3x the caffeine of a can of Coca Cola), and a component of green tea lovingly named epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. And EGCG, what does it do? According to Dr. Hilary Green, corporate shill and sell-out scientist for Nestle, it "speeds up metabolism and increases energy use, especially when combined with caffeine". Put this all together and Coca Cola and Nestle's marketing campaign tells us that if we drink 3 cans of this stuff a day, we'll lose weight!

Can you say ka-ching?

So first, let's ask how much weight we're talking here. According to the companies', an extra 60-100 calories a day or 6-10lbs per year. Remember that number, I'll come back to it.

So how much do we have to pay for the privilege of losing an extra 6lbs in a year? Roughly $1500 given that each can costs on average $1.39 and you'll have to drink over 1,100 of them a year.

Marketing in the test market of New York is fierce with billboards stating, "Burning Calories is now officially delicious", and "Be Positive, Drink Negative".

The science by the way, surprise surprise, is lacking to say the least, but I'm not even going to bother getting into it.

I know, you've been reading my blog and are baffled by the fact I'm resisting an opportunity to provide references.

Here's a case where I don't need references, but if you want some, feel free to turn to the Center for Science in the Public Interest who 3 days ago sent a cease and desist letter to the Enviga folks.

Why don't I need references? Let's go back to that 60-100 calories burned. Let's even assume it's true. What else burns 60-100 calories - drinking 8 glasses of fridge cold water a day or really drinking 8 glasses of any cold zero-calorie beverage a day (because it takes energy to raise the temperature of the cold liquid) or taking just three extra 5 minute walks a day.

Any zero-calorie beverage marketers reading my blog? If so, take the wind out of this Frankenfood's sales by starting your own drink negative campaign!

So what would you rather do? Drink 8 glasses of cold water a day, go for three 5 minute walks a day, drink 4 glasses of cold water and take one 7.5 minute walk a day, go for three 10 minute walks a day, or would you rather spend $1500/year and in so doing help pay the salary of a clear researcher of the night who actually put her name behind the statement calling Enviga a "perfect partnership of science and nature"?

Shame on Dr. Rhona Applebaum selling her name that way, shame on Dr. Hilary Green for promoting shaky science as fact, and shame on you if you buy into this incredibly stupid campaign.

(Looking for the Food Guide series? It can be found if you click here.)