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Ever since former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg failed in 2014 to implement a city-wide ban on large and extra-large soft drink sizes, the national spotlight has been on soda companies, thanks to the progressives. And the nation’s thought police have targeted soda companies in what appears to be a witch-hunt to tax and regulate the nearly 80 billion dollar soft-drink industry.

Take, for example, California. The state wanted to force soda companies to place warning labels on soda, just like the federal government did to cigarettes. And we know how that went. It resulted in a windfall of taxes pouring into the federal coffers that continue even to this day.

Critics contend the consumption of soda pop leads to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. And they may be right. But that hasn’t stopped the soda industry from fighting back in the court of public perception. And one of the ways they’re doing so is by funding health groups and organizations. That seems hypocritical to researchers who sought to uncover Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s philanthropic contributions.

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Daniel Aaaron and Michael Siegel looked into what they titled “Sponsorship of National Health Organizations by Two Major Soda Companies.” Their study, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, concluded the drink companies had contributed to, “96 national health organizations, including many medical and public health institutions whose specific missions include fighting the obesity epidemic.” They also noted that during the time their study was being conducted, the companies, “lobbied against 29 public health bills intended to reduce soda consumption or improve nutrition.”

Because the drink companies lobbied against Uncle Sam’s attempts to regulate their industry, the researchers questioned the soda companies’, “sincere commitment to improving the public’s health.” But the researchers, who are not supposed to display bias, also had harsh criticism for the organizations accepting Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s contributions. They wrote, “By accepting funding from these companies, health organizations are inadvertently participating in their marketing plans.”

So who are some of the 96 medical, and public health organizations receiving money from Big Soda? Time looked into it and found, “The groups accepting sponsorships included the American Diabetes Association, the National Institutes of Health, the American Red Cross, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and many more.”

Going further, and describing the effectiveness of large contributions to the organizations, Aaron and Siegel discovered, "that in 2010, Save the Children, a group that advocated for soda taxes, dropped the cause after they received more than $5 million from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in 2009. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which also received soda industry funding, issued a statement declining support for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed limit on soda portions, arguing nutrition education should be emphasized.”

Also, if you think drinking a diet soda is better for you, think again. A 2014 study concluded the consumption of diet drinks jacks up the guts opti-flora or the digestive system’s natural bacteria and can lead to diabetes. So, once again, life lived in moderation may be the best defense against many of life’s illnesses. And a conscientious avoidance of “high fructose corn syrup” in sodas might be your best bet, as some have concluded, the substance seems to be far worse for you than natural sugar.