Warren Buffett’s Defense of Coca Cola Sugar Water

May 9, 2016

I’m a big Warren Buffettoholic.
When I found out his eating habits though, I was kinda shocked. He eats junk food and yet is trim, lived a long healthy life, and it didn’t hinder him from running a huge company.

He never eats vegetables, never drinks water, eats ice cream for breakfast, loves fudge and peanut brittle, and drinks 6 regular coca cola products a day. His dinners consist of a huge t-bone steak, double hashbrowns, and finishes it off with a milkshake.

He mentions that being happy is the #1 thing, and everything takes care of itself. Meaning, as long as you’re happy, your body will be fine whatever you eat.

I tried the Warren Buffett diet for a few days and suffice it to say, it did NOT work for me.

The only thing I don’t like is Warren’s defense of coke products.
I’ve seen a bunch of videos and articles recently of reporters asking about the health hazards of coke products. Every time, he says there is no problem.

Buffett (85 yrs old) is a calorie counter.
He says that he can eat about 2700 calories a day and not gain weight. If he chooses to portion about 500-600 of those calories into sugar water, that’s his freedom. Plus no one is forced to drink regular coke products. Coke sells many sugar free, non caloric drinks. And there are plenty of products out there with sugar in it, Warren says. If you go after coke, you have to go after candy bars, fudge, and a bunch of other stuff.

Charlie Munger (92), his business partner and friend, says he drinks diet coke products and has no problem with them. Humans have to drink a certain amount of liquid per day. It’s his choice to make some of that palatable by drinking flavored water. It also irritates him when people question the health risks of soda products. He says whenever we look at the risks, we should also list the benefits. And that the benefits of soda outweigh the negatives.

They may be right, but as a person who’s struggled with health/weight issues, this sounds insane!

Why are they defending coke?
a) they’re biased because they’re large investors in coca cola, sit on their board, and made a ton of money holding the company.

OR

b) they’re like people who smoke cigarettes their whole life and never got sick. they are ignorant to the health risks because it never affected them.

OR

c) they’re telling it like it is and are being 100% informed and truthful. as long as you’re happy and stay within your caloric limits, it doesn’t matter what you eat or drink. Coke products (sugar water) aren’t as harmful as people make it out to be.

My thoughts to their answers:

1. Is coca cola just sugar water?
No, there is caffeine, sodium, and other ingredients.
Some health professionals say the formula is designed specifically to be addictive, so that you want more and more.

2. Are all sugars the same?
Real sugar vs high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, & asparatame.
Some doctors say that hfcs has a different effect on the body than natural sugar. Some say asparatame and other fake sugars found in diet soda disturb the good gut bacteria, leading to health problems.

3. Is it easy to kick the habit?
I don’t know about others, but I drank regular coke, orange soda, root beer, mountain dew, sprite, etc for a majority of my childhood. Then switched to diet drinks all my adult life. It took one hell of an effort to kick the habit. It was NOT easy to portion those calories into other areas like Warren suggests. I found soda (both regular and diet) to be very addictive.

He is right though, it’s not just coke that’s addictive. Same goes for potato chips, candy bars, cookies, donuts, pies, cakes.

Everyone has a free choice to drink whatever they want.
But it seems to me like these sugary soda drinks are akin to cigarettes. I don’t think soda should be illegal or taxed superhigh or whatever, but they deserve to lose sales and money as consumers shift towards being healthy. They got rich serving us addictive unhealthy drinks all these years.

The same goes for fast food companies, processed food, and other addictive nutrition-lacking junk food.

Resources:
1. Berkshire Hathaway 2016 Meeting
Someone asks them the coke question. I can’t remember exact time, somewhere between 30mins and 1hr30

2. Sugar the bitter truth
I’m sure you’ve seen this already, he talks about soda also

3. Artificial Sweeteners May Change Our Gut Bacteria in Dangerous Ways

4. Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets

5. Coca Cola CEO apologizes for lack of transparency in funding obesity studies

6. Why Companies Add Salt to Bottled Water
I am curious as to why Coke adds salt to their Dasani Water. Is it just for taste or is it to make us thirstier, so that we drink more of it?

Update:
7. This is a complete coincidence.
After writing, I watched this clip. It’s funny and relevant to scientific studies. In the middle of it, he mentions a hydration study that says being dehydrated is equal to being drunk, when driving. Turns out that study was funded by Coca Cola!

8. Fed Up – Katie Couric
This documentary goes into detail about how the large beverage and junk food companies (coke + pepsi) are funding scientists to say it’s all about energy balance. Eat & drink whatever you want as long as you exercise more, is their solution. People like us who’ve tried this for years know this does not work. How many hours do you have to workout to burn off a couple cans of regular soda? How much energy do you have to workout when your body is struggling to process junk food? Our bodies are not simple adding machines, there’s a whole cascade of things that happen inside when we eat crap.