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Mixed Messages: How Beyonce Was For Soda Before She Was Against It

In new videos for Michelle Obama's Let's Move childhood obesity campaign, the singer Beyonce chomps on an apple (while dancing!) and tells kids to get their bodies moving. Kids old enough to remember will also recall something else Beyonce told them to do -- drink Pepsi. That was in 2002 and 2003 when the pop star was a Pepsi (PEP) spokesperson, appearing in multiple TV ads, like this one where she sings about the "joy of Pepsi."

Although Beyonce's former gig as a soda saleswoman doesn't automatically preclude her from holding hands with Michelle Obama, it does send a confusing message to kids. And it illustrates why celebrities who have any hopes of being role models for kids (one third of whom in the U.S. are overweight or obese) shouldn't ever hawk junk food.

This is, after all, this is soda we're talking about. The food industry, especially the American Beverage Association, points out, quite accurately, that there is no one single cause for the obesity problem America faces and that Michelle Obama is trying to solve. But if you had to list the food factors that have contributed to the problem, soda consumption would be at the top of the list, probably with a giant star next to it. This is why some people are trying to tax it.

Have a Coke and a zillion calories
An analysis of government data done in 2004 found that sodas are the single largest contributor of
calories in the American diet, contributing 7.1%. And unlike other foods we consume by the truckload, such as hamburgers, fries and pizza, soda calories come with no nutrition whatsoever.

What's worse, studies show that our bodies don't register the calories from soda or other sweetened beverages the way they do for solid foods. If you eat 500 calories from a McDonald's Quarter Pounder With Cheese at 3pm, you might not be so hungry for dinner. But chug down 500 calories from a Super Big Gulp and the only thing likely to change about your dinner is that it might be interrupted by a trip to the bathroom.

Times have changed since Beyonce was photographed cradling cans of Pepsi. Those cans aren't even allowed in the vending machines in most schools. Maybe she's just moving with the times.

As part of her effort to help with the obesity problem that soda has contributed to, Beyonce has re-written the words to her song "Get Me Bodied," now called "Move Your Body." It will be released on May 3rd to coincide with a workout event, called "Let's Move! Flash Workout," that will be held in middle schools across the U.S.

Image from Junk Food News
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