As someone who has music from every solo album Beyonce has ever recorded, I can say that I have been a long time fan. So I never thought I would be giving people — especially children and communities of color — this piece of advice: do not listen to Beyonce.
You would have to be living in a bubble to have missed the news that Beyonce cut a reported $50 million, multi-year deal with PepsiCo. Although the deal may meet Beyonce’s and Pepsi’s mutually-beneficial marketing needs, it does not serve the best interests of the U.S. public, which is in the midst of working to combat an obesity epidemic.
While the marketing tactics of soda companies are not new — after all, Beyonce, Sofia Vergara and so many other superstars past and present have been used by soda companies to encourage people to consume unhealthy beverages for decades — what is new is that this deal comes during a time of increased public concern about the role that sugar-sweetened beverages play in contributing to weight gain.
Researchers have determined that 43 percent of the increase in daily calories that Americans consumed between 1977 and 2001, a time period during which obesity almost tripled among segments of the U.S. population — could be attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages. Scientists have also estimated that every additional daily serving of soda consumed by a child increases their risk for obesity by 60 percent.