Dear Ms. Nooyi,
I believe you owe America’s children 820 million apologies. That’s how many times your company exposed our kids to the idiotic message that water is the enemy. Gatorade, a beverage that was first developed in 1965, to replenish the combination of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes for student athletes at the University of Florida, has quickly become the choice of some very unlikely students, overweight and obese kids.
What was once a drink that was meant to nourish and revive has been replaced with another version of Pepsi, but marketed as a “sports drink,” that will help kids perform better, just for drinking it.
Could it get any worse? You bet it can get worse. Those of us on the front lines of the obesity epidemic are watching as thousands of kids, including 300, 400 and yes, 500 pound children, are being told, via a mobile game for kids courtesy of your company, that water is the enemy of athletic performance. To me, having given 13 years of my life and having single-handedly raised close to half a million dollars for the treatment of childhood obesity it is, without a doubt, a “what in the hell?” moment.
Have you ever seen a 350 lb. kid try to run? Forget replacing electrolytes. Think replacing knees and hips! There are many reasons you should be ashamed of this marketing scam but one glaring reason you of all people should feel particular shame is that you are of Indian-American heritage. The American Society of Clinical Nutrition tells us that Indian-Americans of all ages and both sexes have a very high prevalence of obesity as well as diabetes mellitus.
Obesity has become a major health problem in Indian Americans only in the past one or two generations. I wonder if that might correlate to when Pepsi began adding high-fructose corn syrup to Gatorade.
You can say that “G-2,” is the alternate, sucralose, or Splenda, as the replacement of sugar but Ms. Nooyi, being the smart woman we know you must be, you have to know that scientists understand that no-calorie sweeteners stimulate a spike in insulin that’s triggered by the sheer taste of the sweetness, which then causes a drop in blood sugar, and then cravings for more sugar. The beverage might be zero calorie, but it is not zero consequence.
I do not expect you to stop making the sugary beverages that are keeping a nation of children obese, but I do expect you and your marketing gurus to immediately cease your campaign to brand water as the enemy. Our kids deserve better.
Louis H. Yuhasz-Founder/CEO
Fighting obesity …one child at a time!