Senior Coke Exec: We Don’t Believe in Empty Calories. We Believe in Hydration

Coca-Cola HQ

photo: TreeHugger

Katie Bayne is an Atlanta mother of 2 children, and a busy executive. She is the President & General Manager, Sparkling Beverages, Coca-Cola North America. And she has some advice for us on how to fit Coke products into our lives.

Katie Bayne

photo: Coca Cola

Bayne was recently interviewed by USA Today.  The context – New York’s large soda ban, childhood obesity, and the contribution of the beverage industry to the matter. This interview is a “gem”, and you should read it in its entirety, but here are a few excerpts:

Sugary drinks can be a part of any diet as long as your calories in balance with the calories out. Our responsibility is to provide drink in all the sizes that consumers might need.

Coke as a pick-me-up:

There is a large portion of the population that relies on the carbohydrates and energy in our regular beverages. When my son gets home from school, he needs a pick-up with calories and great taste.

Coke’s Religion:

We don’t believe in empty calories. We believe in hydration.

Coke vs.  milk and water for kids and teens:

Teens should get a healthy diet through food and beverage choices throughout the day.

(Thanks for not answering the questions…)

On how much Coke should a kid drink a day:

We don’t make recommendations on what kids should drink. But a 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 calories, the same as a lunch-box-size bag of pretzels.

If my son has lacrosse practice for three hours, we go straight to McDonald’s and buy a 32-ounce Powerade.

(Thank goodness for McDonalds!)

On her daily hydration habit:

I might have a mini Diet Coke while cooking breakfast for my family. After the kids leave for school, I go for a run and then have a Powerade Zero. At work I may have a Diet Coke in the morning and in the afternoon, Gold Peak Tea. In the middle of the afternoon, I may have an 8-ounce Coke. I’d rather have that than a candy bar or cookie for a pick-me-up.

‘Nuf said.

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  • http://twitter.com/dose_of_me Joanna, MPH, CPH

    Fruit and nuts are also a nice afternoon pick me up….

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      Amen

      • Cartoonguy_99

         But there SUGAR in fruit! There’s FAT in nuts!

        In fact a 12oz can of coke has 20ish grams of sugar, and so do a cup of apples.  But, but there’s FIBER in fruit?!?!?! So? Who’s to say you can’t get your fiber from other sources?

        Food Nazis worry so much about things that don’t really matter it’s just silly.

        • fooducate user

          You should educate yourself before spouting nonsense. Whole natural foods such as fruit and nuts work in synergy with the body to provide complete nutrition. The fat in nuts is healthy fat and the sugar in fruit is natural not processed like added sugars in food.

          • caddin

            Can’t you tell sarcasm when you read it.. they even used caps :)

          • Stoobie Melo

            That wasn’t sarcasm. Foodies don’t call themselves “Food Nazis.” The grammatical errors, ignorance above, and “no bad foods” comment below confirm Cartoonguy_99 is spouting nonsense. He won’t be ready for education until he gets aspartame poisoning.

  • Megan

    Coke hydrates the body? I don’t think so. Both carbonation and caffeine DEHYDRATE the body. Her poor children- giving the coke as a “nutritious” pick me up.

    • eric

      This is a common response, and it’s also incorrect.  Yes, caffeine alone — as in pure and undiluted — does dehydrate.  But the truth is that coffee, which has more caffeine than coke, actually energizes AND hydrates you.  Reason is the water in coffee more than compensates for the caffeine it contains. You would need to ingest a decent amount of pure caffeine alone for it to have any kind of dehydration effect.  

      This is not a defense of coke, which I agree IS nothing more than empty calories.  I write this simply to correct a common misconception.

  • Heehee

    yes! A diet coke for breakfast! I knew something was missing from my life!

  • SSK

    Water, water and more water is the best to hydrate the body.

  • EVIL food scientist

    A senior executive, likely making several hundred thousand dollars a year or perhaps more than a million a year is NOT going to say “yes, our product is EVIL AND SHOULD BE BANNED!” 

    What did you expect her to say? 

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

      Nothing. It would have been better.

      • Ernest

        If fooducate would say nothing that would be an advancement. The opinionated misinformation distributed by fooducate is far worse than any carbonated beverage. Talk about junk food, fooducate is a platter of junk science appetizers.

      • EVIL food scientist

         She could at least pretend that her “hydration” is coming from the electrolyte sports drink rather than from the liquid candy.   Just straight up come out and say it’s liquid candy. How hard is that?   The soda makers are falling into the same trap that the cigarette makers fell into.  They are saying “NO! NO! our product isn’t BAD for you, in fact there are many benefits of our product!” Be like the booze makers.  They pretty much came out and said “yep, whiskey will kill you, want a shot”? Didn’t hurt sales at all.  If it’s all about hydration, why didn’t she plug one of Coke’s lines of bottled water?  She managed to hit nearly every other marketing point in her article.
        She could at least pretend that her “hydration” is coming from the electrolyte sports drink rather than from the liquid candy. 
         
        Just straight up come out and say it’s liquid candy. How hard is that? 
         
        The soda makers are falling into the same trap that the cigarette makers fell into.  They are saying “NO! NO! our product isn’t BAD for you, in fact there are many benefits of our product!”
         
        Be like the booze makers.  They pretty much came out and said “yep, whiskey will kill you, want a shot”? Didn’t hurt sales at all.
         
        If it’s all about hydration, why didn’t she plug one of Coke’s lines of bottled water?  She managed to hit nearly every other marketing point in her article.

        • EVIL food scientist

          Huh, must have hit cut and paste in my own posting!

  • http://foodtrainers.blogspot.com Lauren Slayton

    i wake up in the morning and have a shot of tequila and take my kids to school. I figure it’s roughly the same calories as an egg anyway. I pack my children’s lunch and toss in a pieces of nicorette, they say chewing gum helps with concentration. After my son’s practice we do a few bong hits (helps him relax at the end of the day). This scenario, save for the fact that soda is “legal”  sounds the same to me. Insane.

  • Thomas

    Good GRIEF!!!! Talk about absurd! Myself I like to wake up and have a coke before my bike ride, then stop by “McNasties” for a chemical flavored- laden Powerade (cause I like my liver to turn bright blue) then when I get back from my 5 hour ride I like to wash it down with at least 2 liters of coke…..yummmmmers! :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Heidi-Hall/607570309 Heidi Hall

    i, in no way support drinking pop as a form of hydration, BUT it is a common myth that you do not get hydration from caffeinated beverages. the truth, from  my nutrition text from uni is that we are so used to the caffeine in our diet that it really does not dehydrate much from a drink. of course, it is also myth that you need to drink 8 glasses of water a day to remain hydrated.. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Heidi-Hall/607570309 Heidi Hall

    and might i add that her response is solid product placement. nowhere in there does she even state drinking any water in the day.

  • George Vella

    Let’s see……water + sugar + carbonation + chemical names I cannot pronounce.
    Sounds like the perfect formula for the ADHD obese culture mega drink companies salivate for.
    All in the name of making a buck.

  • Catherine

    Talk about selling out for a dollar (or a million)!

  • Beratlis

    you. have. got. to. be. kidding. me.

    Just crazy.

  • JillCF7

    This is so wrong… I mean we’ve all had a coke before, I had one today even but it should be considered a very limited treat for restraints every now and then, even diet. It should NOT be considered a 3 times daily drink!! Diabetes or cancer anyone?

  • Darryl Miglio

    and it was all probably said with the same corporate smile as seen in her corproate head shot.

    Nothing new here.  Cigarettes makers spin their products too.
    The interview is a pleasant diversion but does anyone take it’s absudity seriously?

  • Cartoonguy_99

    “Sugary drinks can be a part of any
    diet as long as your calories in balance with the calories out. Our
    responsibility is to provide drink in all the sizes that consumers might
    need.

    Coke as a pick-me-up:

    There is a large portion of the
    population that relies on the carbohydrates and energy in our regular
    beverages. When my son gets home from school, he needs a pick-up with
    calories and great taste.”

    Only on this site is common sense deemed unhealthy.

    There are NO BAD FOODS.  Just because you think people are too stupid to make their own decisions doesn’t make it so.

    • caddin

      hurr durr Coca cola isn’t bad for you!! derp.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ColbyWanShinobi Colby Butler

    “We don’t make recommendations on what kids should drink.”
    What do you think all those soda commercials are?

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.byers.754 Heather Byers

    For those who wish to be more educated on the effects of what is put into a human body, watch The Beautiful Truth. If you don’t believe what you see, you can always keep your ostrich head in the sand and chalk your inevitable demise up to natural selection. ;)