What could you possibly do to make a can of Cherry Coke less appealing? Put Warren Buffet’s face on it, that’s what. The 86 year-old billionaire has bragged about his massively unhealthy Coca-Cola habit, and now his face will be emblazoned on Cherry Coke cans in China. Buffet has owned stock in Coca-Cola for decades — and his investment firm reportedly owns 9.3 percent of the beverage giant, and that holding is estimated to be worth $17 billion. It’s really no surprise that Buffet got his face on a soda can; the investment behemoth is known for his love of the junk food industry.
The billionaire claims he drinks a shocking five cans of Coca-Cola every day, and can often be seen sipping on a can of the fizzy stuff at public events — after all, there is no better advertising than free advertising, right?
Buffet is also notorious for defending Coca-Cola as concerns about the health consequences of consuming sugary drinks continue to raise questions about soda’s safety. Last year, at a company meeting, Buffet even went so far as to say that the “happiness” he gets from drinking soda outweighs any health benefits he could get from eating more vegetables. Of course, the sight of his stocks rising in value probably makes him pretty happy too — and encouraging people to continue to drink soda is one way to ensure that happens.
Buffet took things one step further, however, and went full-on delusional. “I have not seen evidence that convinces me that it’ll be more likely I reach 100 if I suddenly switched to water and broccoli,” he said. Clearly, Mr. Buffet lives in a bubble — which is pretty easy to do when you’re worth an estimated $76 billion.
The fact of the matter is that there is quite a lot of evidence that sugar, and consequently soda, is not good for your body. As this video from the University of California at Davis’s Kimber Stanhope explains, consuming sugary beverages sets off a chain reaction across the body — and it begins with your liver. As Stanhope explains, glucose and fructose affect the body differently. The liver is capable of “shutting off” its absorption of glucose, and if it doesn’t need glucose, it will simply go the rest of the body.
However, this does not happen with fructose, because there is an enzyme in the liver that is always “turned on,” and the liver will consequently continue to absorb the fructose, even if its energy stores are full. Very little fructose gets delivered to other parts of the body, most of it will be stored in the liver as fat. And when there is more fat in the liver, there is more fat going out into the bloodstream. This, in turn, raises triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Stanhope explains that liver fat is also thought to decrease insulin’s ability to work properly, which increases the risk of diabetes. And when insulin is not effective, even more fructose will be turned into liver fat — creating a twisted, self-repeating cycle. Any fructose-containing beverage — including Buffet’s beloved cola — is capable of these effects.
Sugar isn’t the only unhealthy thing about these bubbly beverages, either: Some artificial colorants are known to produce carcinogenic byproducts, as well.
While Warren Buffet uses his face to push his agenda, those of us with common sense will be skipping on the soda.