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Is that Right? 90-calorie Coke helps consumers balance calories


If ever there were a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't, the new 90-calorie cans of Coca-Cola that hit grocery shelves in the D.C. area in December fit the bill.

As reported in the Post's "All We Can Eat" blog in October, the new product contains 7.5 ounces of Coke, delivering 90 calories. A standard can contains 12 ounces, and delivers 145 calories.

To read the blogs out there, you'd think the folks at Coca-Cola were trying to pull the wool over our eyes. One of the common observations is that the new, smaller cans will just encourage people to drink TWO cans, for a total of 180 calories.

Well, whose fault is that?

The way I see it, Coca-Cola has done precisely what nutrition experts have been asking the food industry to do: It has offered an easy means of portion control -- which many nutritionists believe is key to weight management -- and it has provided a clear indication of the number of calories the can contains. Given the ongoing hubbub over food-package labeling requirements and demands that restaurants add calorie-count information to their menus, you'd think everyone would be patting Coca-Cola on the back.

For my part, I'd much rather have Coca-Cola succeed with its scaled-down Coke cans than see companies that make misleading health claims for their products do well. What about you?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  January 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Is That Right? , Nutrition and Fitness  
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Next: Calorie listings often wrong


Agreed. Finally a company is being forthright a product promotion and they get criticized. Too many "experts" and too little thought process.

Posted by: pjohn2 | January 8, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, people who drink too much Coke should look in the mirror for the source of the problem rather than blaming Coca-Cola.


Posted by: SteveParkerMD | January 8, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

This is simply a way to make people buy more coke. Less quantity, same price, tell people it's for their health. Suckers.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | January 8, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree. This is a great move by Coke. I really like the new, smaller cans. I drink one a day -- no more. It's wonderful.

Posted by: MarylandJ | January 8, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

We've been waiting for these small cans for years. Now cyclists can pack and drink little cans of coke -- the best energy/caffeine source around -- on their rides, instead of the disgusting fructose/sucrose gel packs.

Posted by: ralphsoldbike | January 8, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Coke--8 oz is about the proper single serving size for a drink.

Posted by: nuzuw | January 8, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

What's with Skeptic1 ?
What he's saying is incorrect.

Coke is not selling the 7.5 ounce can for the same price as the 12 ounce can. The 90 calorie 7.5 ounce can is cheaper.

Geesh. Some people moan and groan just because they are negative about everything and like complaining.

Posted by: Les_W | January 8, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid, Coke came in 6.5 ounce deposit bottles. You had A Coke and that was it. The 7.5 ounce size is a great idea and a return to sanity.

Posted by: tmasearch1 | January 8, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree this is a good move by Coke. They're not being dishonest and claiming all of the sudden that their product is healthy.
Besides, it's not as if Coke doesn't offer low-call and no-cal products.

Posted by: PhilliePhanatic | January 8, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

good commercial for cc wapo.equal time for some real tax generators. tobbaco,alcohol,otc crap etc etc.

Posted by: pofinpa | January 8, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

coke has been selling a (overpriced) 100 cal can for years. how is this any different and why is it a big deal?

Posted by: sam29 | January 8, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Now Coke needs to go all the way and produce these cans with cane sugar not HFC. They also should produce a product that is 45 calories - half regular, half diet.

Posted by: cougartonyusa | January 8, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Not sure why its the company's responsibility to handle portion control. We are adults, or we are adults watching over children. We have brains, and we need to use them. If you are too dumb to realize that drinking a whole load of Coke all the time is bad for you, after all the literature and media attention.... I'll be the first to admit I love a Coke with lunch... but I will take a bottle a drink maybe a third of it, cap it, fridge it, and save the rest for the next day. Water fills the hydration bill. At a restaurant I fill my cup full with ice and add the Coke to it. I get the taste I am looking for, but a lot less calories or sugar.

Posted by: JorgeGortex | January 8, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

obvious = Smaller cans makes them more money in the end. Price per liter. Look into it.

Not so obvious = Sometimes people like me buy the smaller cans because we dont always want an entire coke. Opening up a full can is a bit wasteful when you pour out half of it.

I keep both in my refrigerator.

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | January 8, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I only drink one small can of coke and find the 12oz cans too much. So if I save myself 55 calories and a couple of grams of sugar, it's not a bad thing.

Posted by: ProudSailor | January 8, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I love a cold can of Coke. With the current size of 12 oz, I usually drink about 1/2 a can. Kind of like another person may like that small drink of Scotch. There is just something enjoyable about it. If a store only has the plastic Coke bottles, I buy Vitamin Water instead. Funny how that goes, eh?

Posted by: bkshane | January 8, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, within the past year, my government agency switched its vending machines from 12 ounce cans to 20 ounce plastic bottles. It would be nice to think that 9 ounce can machines would eventually show up on the market but I doubt it.

Posted by: onegordo | January 9, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

The phosphoric acid is still terrible for your stomach.

Posted by: cmecyclist | January 9, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Good post. The Slate/HuffPo folks are a bunch on ninnies and scolds who want to tell people what they should do "for their own good". Coke's small can is a great idea, a throwback to their small bottles of pre-obesity epidemic days.

Posted by: qaz1231 | January 9, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

If Coca-Cola were selling all Coke at a similar price per quart, the price of the 7.5 Oz. can would be 62.5 percent that of the 12 Oz. can. Anyone care to wager that it isn't? Plus, I can get the 12 Oz. cans on sale every other week or so at my local supermarket. The "specialty" cans are not included. Its just a gimmick to appease the Diet Police. And make more profit. Personally, I drink the diet sodas, so 145 Cal. or 90 Cal. don't matter to me.

Posted by: Ex-Fed | January 9, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

These small soft-drink cans are standard in Asia. And, you don't see many obese people over there.

Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | January 11, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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