Board Certified by Coca-Cola!

Normal Rockwell's Doctor Office painting of boy leaning over looking at his certificate with his pants pulled down. The certificate has Coca-Cola as the certifying body.

The American Academy of Family Physicians, which I am a member, accepts money from Coca-Cola.  Wow.

The AAFP once announced a corporate partnership with The Coca-Cola Co., in which the beverage giant will provide a grant for the Academy to develop consumer education content related to beverages and sweeteners for the AAFP's award-winning consumer health and wellness Web site,

According to the Kansas City Business Journal, Coca-Cola was to provide a grant of an unspecified amount to the AAFP for the project.

Now it comes full circle.  The drug industry manipulates and controls the drug information given to doctors and now soda companies fund the nutrition information.  Good work guys!  Even if the AAFP changes their mind due to public outcry it won’t be enough for me.  They need to clearly state publicly that drinking soda has been a significant contributor to the epidemic of overweight, heart disease and cancer in this country and is disease and death promoting.  It is designed to be addicting and serving it to children is child abuse.  What if the AAFP accepted funding from Phillip Morris and promoted smoking in moderation?   I can’t resign my membership, I would lose board certification credentials.  I could send them a letter, but what else should we do?

Read more about it on AAFP’s very own website:

P.S. Just in case you didn’t know, the American Dietetic Association, the organization that certifies nutritionists and dietitians, also accepts money from Coca-Cola, as well as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Mars and the National Dairy Council. Take a look at the corporate sponsor’s page on the ADA website and see for yourself!


UPDATE (10/30/09): Based on reader response we would like to ask that you let the AAFP and the ADA know what you think about this. Please feel free to post the letters you wrote to them here in the comments so others can use your writings too.




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Comments (30) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D. - October 26, 2009 6:29 PM

How are we, as patients, supposed to place trust in an organization as prestigious and significant as the American Academy of Family Physicians when they collaborate with companies such as Coca Cola? The American Dietetic Association is "proudly" sponsored by the companies mentioned above. These are both qualifying agencies responsible for information that is disseminated to patients via their practitioners, the Family Physicians and Registered Dietitians. It is a sad representation of the direction in which health care is headed.

Cindy - October 26, 2009 7:18 PM

Any ideas on what we can do? Send letters to AFP? Write letters to our local newspapers (if anyone still reads them)? This level of corruption is blatantly unacceptable and highly disappointing.

Emily Boller - October 26, 2009 9:34 PM

"I'd like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love,

Grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves.

I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,

I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.

It's the real thing, Coke is what the world wants today."

(produced in 1971 by David, Cook and Backer)

Maybe its time for the American public to "do something" and speak out. Perhaps in the year 2009, Coke is NOT what the world wants today. Oops, I meant, "Maybe obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputated limbs, tooth decay and many other ailments are not what the world wants anymore."

Greg - October 26, 2009 11:49 PM

We can start by sending them an email and asking them for a response to this article:

Specifically how they think Coca Cola is going to be participating in "helping consumers make better choices"

Somehow I doubt Coca Cola is going to be sponsoring articles that tell people to avoid coke like the plague.

Dr. Fuhrman, this post is one of your strongest and most powerful articles on this blog, you should take some time to share it with other publishers in the community personally. I'm sure you can bring a lot of attention to this issue.

Mike - October 27, 2009 12:01 AM

This is very SAD indeed. The AAFP -- proudly brought to you by Coke and Pepsico :(

Matt Stone - October 27, 2009 10:41 AM

Several years ago I thought that getting the proper credentials might be a bright idea - so I started pursuing a Master's degree in a Nutrition-related field. I looked first at Tufts, considered to have the finest nutrition program around. Perusing through their info. I noticed that there was an internship requirment, and the internships were with:

General Mills
and several others in this ballpark

Thank sweet Jesus I didn't do that. I would've had trouble going to work without strapping a bomb to myself.

That sums it all up though doesn't it?

Now my greatest credential is the fact that I don't have any. I have far less to unlearn because of it.

Cindy - October 27, 2009 6:09 PM

According to page 90 of the November issue Health magazine, OORTHOEXIA is "a controversial eating disorder marked by an obsession with healthy food." Is this the diagnosis we can expect from the coca-cola physicians?

Jean - October 27, 2009 7:02 PM

We are living in a Kalfka world. The government, the health agencies and all of the news media talk incessantly about the problem of obesity and cancer. Yet they endorse and push products on the public that are lethal. Has anyone read the ingredients on the cereal boxes? They are packed with sugar and corn syrup (second and third on the ingredient list) and that's the 'healthy' cereal that isn't sugar-coated junk people are giving their children to start the day.

Coke is not the only bad soda -- they all are terrible. They contain nothing but chemicals and artificial ingredients.

Very simple solution, folks. Quit buying their junk and make sure you call, write or email to let them know. If the American public would wise up, read the labels, and act accordingly, you would see how fast these companies would change their products because it's all about the money.

** Just as an aside, we used Coke on a photo shoot to remove rust from the railroad tracks.

Sally Large - October 27, 2009 7:10 PM

Gee, I wonder if Phillip Morris will sponsor information for patients with lung cancer? I wouldn't be surprised. This also perhaps explains why the nutritionist my company assigned to work with me (I was refusing to cut back on greens while on Coumadin) didn't know who Dean Ornish was. Or Fuhrman. Or any of them. She did, however, know the USDA Food Pyramid with lots of lean meats and grains. I'll go outside and scream now.

Peggy Kraus - October 27, 2009 7:50 PM

Dispicable. Just like the drug companies, just like the medical journals, just like the schools in our country, we see that the AAFP is driven by money. I'm sure you've heard our country's new motto, "In no one we can trust."

Margaret Jones - October 27, 2009 7:53 PM

We can continue to spread the nutritarian way of life, which translates into a boycott of a huge swath of business interests in the U.S. and actually world wide now. No wonder these interests are so threatened and aggressive in persuing their interests.

MIke Rubino - October 27, 2009 7:55 PM

Wow this is disturbing news. If doctors have any conscience left they wont let these corporations take over their judgement. In reality judgement is all they are selling and once thats gone they will be nothing more than snake oil salesmen with expensive degrees.

Robin Jeep - October 27, 2009 9:09 PM

I am a nutritional chef. I'm so not surprised. I been training the kitchen staff for an institutional organization how to make nutritious foods from scratch. I've tried to order from PFG their food distributor (a major national food distributor) rolled oats, whole wheat flour, wild salmon, brown rice, tofu, etc. They only carry quick cook oats, white flour, farm raised fish, precooked converted brown rice, etc. Plain deglet dates were $20+ a pound. They have plenty of processed foods though. The sales rep was embarrassed and said that we must think he is killing people. I didn't reply.
By the way, we've dramatically cut their food costs preparing food from scratch.

David Fisher DDS - October 27, 2009 10:14 PM

The consumption of soft drinks is one of the leading causes of dental caries. The American Dental Association has long opposed contractual agreements between schools and soft drink manufacturers. It is sad to see our physicians join with this corporation.

M Seki - October 27, 2009 10:43 PM

Most people know soda is not good for them. Because it's so abundant, often people think they have little option. The #1 target location which gets people hooked is at fast food chains.
The AAFP should use their funds to push legislation for fast food chains be required to sell their combos cheaper if the customer wants ice water with their meal instead of soda.
Additionally, health drinks need to be in greater supply and offered right alongside soda drinks wherever they are offered.

This is for America's health.

Brian Howard - October 27, 2009 10:46 PM

This is frightening,....what next? Skoal or Copenhagen smokeless tobacco entering into an agreement with the American Dental Association?

Joan - October 28, 2009 7:27 AM

Guess Coca Cola's getting ready to release its new TRUVIA drinks.

David Myers - October 28, 2009 10:36 AM

This is just more of the same thing thats going on in other industries. Our coporate plutacracy is going to control information so that they maximize profits. As long as they are allowed to operate unfettered without regulation or oversight they will do as they please. It goes back to the old saying "Integrity get in the way of prosperity". The coporate officers only mantra is how much money can I make this quarter. All you have to do is look at other businesses such as health care and banking and its obvious that they do not care about people, only profits. If I sound like a socialist then so be it. But this problem is bigger than just softdrink companies it all busiesses and industries in this country. We need to put people ahead of profits.

Monty - October 28, 2009 12:02 PM

Welcome to the World of Orwell! All words will be used to mean their opposites! Black is White! War is Peace! Ignorance is Strength! Oldthinkers Unbellyfeel Ingsoc!

Jen Love Tillotson - October 28, 2009 1:14 PM

OK, that's just ridiculous!

I sent a note to the AAFP by following the link in your note, and clicked on "contact us". (OK, I NEVER do this sort of thing, but SERIOUSLY--we've really got to speak out on this!)

Here's what I wrote:


An alliance with Coca Cola?!?!?!?!

ARE YOU NUTS????????????

The over-consumption of soda has been a MAJOR contributor to our national crisis of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Your article states that "the Academy will work with Consumer Alliance partners to develop innovative programs and materials to educate consumers and health professionals about enhancing food and beverage selections, boosting physical activity, achieving emotional well-being, and promoting other aspects of a healthy and balanced lifestyle."

Spare me.

Perhaps you can work on gaining partnership with Phillip Morris. I'm sure they could contribute tremendously to the promotion of educational materials for your pulmonary and cardiovascular health programs.

Mr. Curious - October 28, 2009 2:14 PM

How did anything change back in the 60's - didn't people come out to the streets and protest?

I think that if the AAFP or either of the ADA got enough negative communication from the public, they would change. Also if coca cola would have the same negative press and protesters on their doorstep they would have to change as well.

The sad reality is that people do not really get it. They think, sure we know soda is bad for us, but [put your excuse here...] and the same with any other drug or choice. There's always a [but]... and [I choose to be ignorant]

As long as soft drinks and Halloween candy are the norm, there will be no change. To change this norm, there must be a real 'public' protest to stand against the proliferation of non-food products in our society.

It has to start at home, with us first; our children, and our families will follow.

When you embrace nutritarian, you embrace real change. Spread the word, and get on board.

Mr. Curious

Peggy Ploss - October 28, 2009 4:28 PM

So, where do we take action and what action is suggested!

Peggy Ploss - October 28, 2009 4:35 PM

Brian, if this wasn't so serious, I would LOL about your comment ... Skoal and Copenhagen...very funny uplift around a malicious act in the name of? money, money...

I'm in the middle of writing what I think is turning into a book:

Consumerism: The religion of death and destruction!

The last two sentences:

We are in the pot of boiling water. Let's all get out before we boil with our Grandchildren.

Louis Revesz - October 30, 2009 5:52 PM

Not the first unholy alliance with mainstream medicine and commerce. Didn't the AMA try making a deal with Sunbeam appliances that was a real PR disaster?

edie rodman - October 30, 2009 6:52 PM

I you need continued Board Certification? You are well established, well known and have a successful practice.

Maybe opting out would be an interesting wake-up sound to these medical Quislings.
Maybe not.

My late husband, a psychiatrist, did not get board-certified-nor did he join AMA- but had a very respected career with Kaiser Permanente, a large HMO which actually does try to KEEP people healthy!

Good luck. We appreciate what you do.

OCS - October 31, 2009 12:53 PM

Sorry, I don't think that something POSITIVE can be done in this country - as long there is so much =IGORANCE,POLITICAL INTERES and GREED. When I said GREED - this is highly spread even trough "Doctors and or Health Practitioners". Sorry Dr.Furman...

themoo - November 2, 2009 11:53 AM

The Sunday Kansas City Star newspaper covered this story by making this marriage of Coke and AAFP the top headline showing a picture of a bottle of Coke with a bridal veil and a physician offering the coke bottle a wedding ring. If you want to make a comment or would like to read the story go to:

RDH - January 7, 2010 11:15 PM

To what board certification are you referring? I've stopped paying my AAFP dues in protest, and my American Board of Family Medicine certification is entirely unaffected.

The only degree issued by the AAFP is that of "Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians" which has nothing to do with the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Resign and be done with them.

HealthDoc - January 19, 2010 12:17 PM

In other news, the ADA has removed the page from their website that contained their sponsor information.

Stephen - January 28, 2010 10:19 AM

One of my local medical charities sponsored a fundraising event called a 'hogfest'. I wrote a letter to the editor of our biggest newspaper citing various articles that documented the 'hog fest' fare being pushed particularly on kids was exacerbating the diseases the charity ostensibly intended to combat.

The article drew a number of angry criticisms from the event sponsors who defended it solely on monetary grounds. Charity fundraisers are tax-free big business. I responded by stating that if they held an event like it again I would organize resistance, notify the media and make a headline story out of it.

So far, we have suffered no more 'hogfests'. Certainly responsible citizens like Dr. Fuhrman and his patients need to object to these self-serving culinary hypocrisies. Often mere token resistance is enough to cause meaningful change.


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