Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness

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The Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness, established in 2004 and based in Atlanta, GA is an organization set up by the Coca-Cola Company, whose purpose is, according to its website, "to use evidence-based science to advance knowledge and understanding of beverages, beverage ingredients, and the important role that active healthy lifestyles play in supporting health and wellbeing."[1] It was announced in 2005, when Coca-Cola executive Donald Short, then the company's vice president, published a paper about his company's commitments to consumers' health in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.[2] Their paid advisers include Baylor College of Medicine researcher John Foreyt.[3] The Institute "sponsors continuing professional education for registered dietitians, nurses and other professionals."[4] This has led critics to say that "corporate influence is both tainting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’s reputation and affecting its positions."[5] Michele Simon, one such critic, in a report by the Center for Food Safety, wrote, "Coca-Cola is a master at public relations, so it’s no surprise that its institute operates on numerous levels. One is to dispel any notions that its products might be harmful, for example, by distracting the public with words like “hydration” and “energy balance.”"[6]

Rhona Applebaum[edit]

The Institute is led by Rhona S. Applebaum, PhD, who is also the Coca-Cola Company's Chief Science and Health Officer. In addition, she serves on the scientific advisory board of the Food and Drug Administration. She also serves on the boards of the International Life Sciences Institute, the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst Food Science Strategic Policy Alliance. Previously, she was Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer for the National Food Processors Association. She received her undergraduate degree from Wilson College, her M.S. from Drexel University, and her PhD from the University of Wisconsin Madison.[7] Her PhD was in food microbiology and her thesis was entitled, "Responses of dairy cows to dietary aflatoxin, methods to eliminate aflatoxin M1 from milk and fate of aflatoxin M1 in cottage cheese".[8]


Some research has been published in respected journals by people affiliated with the Institute, for example Maxime Buyckx, Coca-Cola's director of Nutrition and Health Sciences, co-authored a paper in Nutrition Reviews about the topic of hydration,[9] and also, when appearing at a symposium hosted at Harvard Medical School in 2005, argued that there is no scientific evidence of a connection between soda consumption and obesity, arguing that a 2001 study by David Ludwig was methodologically flawed.[10]


  1. ^ "BIHW: About Us". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  2. ^ Short, D. (2005). "When science met the consumer: The role of industry". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 82 (1 Suppl): 256S–258S. PMID 16002832.
  3. ^ Malisow, Craig (19 May 2005). "Sugar Coated". Houston Press. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  4. ^ Deardorff, Julie (8 February 2012). "Critics pounce on Coke, Pepsi health initiatives". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  5. ^ Zara, Christopher (12 July 2013). "Nutrition Industry Sold Out To Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kellogg, Hershey And Other Junk Food Giants, Registered Dietitians Say". International Business Times. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  6. ^ Simon, Michele (May 2013). "Best Public Relations that Money Can Buy" (PDF). Center for Food Safety. p. 14. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Rhona S. Applebaum, PhD". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  8. ^ Applebaum, Rhona S. (1981). "Responses of dairy cows to dietary aflatoxin, methods to eliminate aflatoxin M1 from milk and fate of aflatoxin M1 in cottage cheese". WorldCat. p. 279. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  9. ^ Grandjean, A. C.; Reimers, K. J.; Buyckx, M. E. (2003). "Hydration: Issues for the 21st Century". Nutrition Reviews. 61 (8): 261–271. doi:10.1301/nr.2003.aug.261-271. PMID 13677588.
  10. ^ Simon, Michele (2006). Appetite for Profit. Nation Books. pp. 189–190.