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October 16, 2006

Enviga from Coke: Burns More Calories Than it Contains*

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:12 am

enviga With that flame logo and energy-sounding name, one might think that Enviga was the new moniker for an old gas company. In fact, Enviga is a new green tea and caffeine beverage from the Coca Cola Company that claims to “help burn calories by gently increasing your metabolism.”

Their website says that since “each can of Enviga contains only 5 calories, you end up burning more calories than you consume – so for the first time you can actually ‘drink negative.’”

That claim is reminiscent of the old joke about a man boasting that his car was so fuel efficient that he actually had to stop every few miles to dump out excess gasoline.

The website also says that according to their own study, [Coke has just removed the abstract of their unpublished study from the Enviga website]  the average person burned 106 extra calories drinking three cans of Enviga a day.

*MOUSE PRINT:  The study was very small, consisting of only 32 healthy people, of normal weight, aged 18 – 35. (Wouldn’t this product appeal more to overweight people, and where is the study for that?) The results actually showed that there was no difference in fat oxidation (fat burning) between those drinking Enviga versus a placebo. But it did show that “energy expenditure” was significantly higher for the Enviga drinkers.

Coke is very careful in the way they word their claims, never saying anything about weight loss. Instead they say this drink “is a simple way and positive step you can take toward a healthy balanced lifestyle.”  The back of the can even cautions that drinking more than three cans a day of Enviga will not have any additional effect.

A company representative who was interviewed on the Today Show (watch video) danced around the answer to Matt’s question — if this is not a weight loss product, how does invigorating one’s metabolism lead to better health?

The real problem with a product subtitled “the calorie burner” is the reasonable inference that consumers will draw from such a claim — that you can drink this product and lose weight, and the more you drink, the more weight you will lose.

There is no doubt that Enviga will be subject of many articles and debates, [see Wall Street Journal piece], as it is rolled out in select cities next month, and nationwide in January (at $1.29 a can).

• • •

21 Comments

  1. I hate food industry, they always do these kind of tricks. I think you can make a
    whole other website on food packaging food prints. Just at the nutrition value labels. E.g. one package is
    100g, but the label will provide nutrition info for one serving, which conviniently happens to be 3/4 of a
    table spoon, which is ~ 13.7g, go ahead shopper and do the math if you can!

    P.S. “that you can drink this product and loss weight” loss = loose?
    P.P.S. The comment wraps under the background in IE6/win32 and I can’t see the end of what I type.

    Comment by moltar — October 16, 2006 @ 3:08 pm
  2. P.P.P.S. Comment wrapping occurs only when you start typing something in the textarea. If you just
    refresh and look at it, you won\\\’t see the bug. This is a tricky one!

     Edgar responds: Sorry… this is a WordPress software issue that has not been resolved yet, in IE6. The new IE7, just released, does not exhibit the problem (nor does Firefox).

    Comment by moltar — October 16, 2006 @ 3:09 pm
  3. Well, there’s another substance that burn more calories than it contains.
    It’s called WATER. really, everything on food packages need to be taken less then seriously. The worst I think is, when it say “No added sugar” or whatever. emphasize “Added”….

    “The comment wraps under the background in IE6″
    Use Firefox. or Opera
    http://www.firefox.com/ http://www.opera.com/

    Comment by Alcari — October 16, 2006 @ 5:03 pm
  4. What’s the big deal? Nowhere did it say that it burns fat. They made the claim that it’s a calorie burner, and that’s what it does. Just because many people decide that they don’t care what these words actually mean doesn’t mean they are being underhanded. That would be like saying I was underhanded for taking a soda from a person’s fridge after I asked him, because he is too stupid to know what “soda” means.

    Comment by Joshua — October 16, 2006 @ 5:03 pm
  5. Technically, I don\’t think water \”burns\” calories. I think the drink is claiming to have a somewhat modest effect on increasing your metabolic rate. Well, so does eating chipotle peppers.

    Comment by Shawn — October 17, 2006 @ 4:45 pm
  6. The advertisers at Coca-Cola know very well that people will assume that “burns more calories than it contains” means that it will cause weight loss. Those people may not be right but I don’t think it necessarily means they’re stupid. Funny how advertisers can have such precise and narrow definitions for claims in one instance and then have such broad ones at other times.

    Comment by hatrack — October 18, 2006 @ 3:24 pm
  7. Actually, drinking *ice* water would burn calories and raise your metabolism…hey, I just found my new product! Patent pending! ;)

    Seriously, this is not just “caveat emptor”, this is actively trying to deceive consumers, and not about something the average consumer could afford (in time and money) to properly analyze or calculate themselves even if they were so inclined.

    Comment by The Cosmic Avenger — October 19, 2006 @ 12:52 pm
  8. The thing what is wrong with the food industry or industry in general are two things marketing and lawyers. Both use words to try and fool you and then defend that jest while taking all of your cash. These “extras” is whats lead to a rise in prices for services and goods.

    This world would be a much better place if all lawyers and marketers would just roll over and die.

    Comment by bob — October 19, 2006 @ 2:19 pm
  9. It may not mean they are stupid, but it also doesn’t mean that their assumption is at all right. I should not be punished for my neighbors ignorance and neither should Coca-Cola be punished or defamed for their neighbors ignorance.

    A calorie has never been a unit of fat loss. It has always been a measure of energy content. This definition has never changed. I don’t see how you can defend people who don’t bother to know what common words like ‘calorie’ means and defame people that use it correctly, just because the ignorant people make assumptions that they should not ever have made.

    Comment by Joshua — October 19, 2006 @ 3:11 pm
  10. It’s one thing to be ignorant, but to exploit the ignorance of others for profit is entirely another. These companies deliberately use words in thier advertising that could easily be mis-interprited by anyone who dosen’t have a dictionary in front of them. People don’t pick apart words and dig for definitions while casually walking through a convenience store, much less if they are in a hurry. They know there is a HUGE market for a “miracle diet suppliment”. They know they can’t make one, so they make everyone ‘think’ they can and only tell people what they want to hear.

    Comment by Jeremy — October 20, 2006 @ 11:08 am
  11. OK, I’m confused. Say you are at a steady weight. Calories in (what you eat each day) = energy used (calories out used by just breathing + activity). Then you drink this product. They claim energy expendature is greater after drinking up to 3 cans. Energy = calories burned, right? So, this means you will lose weight? Their website, on the can, it says you can burn 60-100 calories in a day by drinking 3 cans. Multiply that (100 calories) for a year & divide by 3,500 (calories in a pound) = 10.42 pounds lost in a year. That’s a weight loss claim.

    The key is the caffeine. Just like a cup ‘o joe, it will get you moving. Coffee can make the same claim. Red Bull can make the same claim. Nasty nasty marketing companies. And saying this is part of a “healthy balanced lifestyle”! I say, just drink water and take a walk!

    Comment by Nancy — October 20, 2006 @ 9:10 pm
  12. Don’t happen to work in marketing, advertising or for Coca Cola, do you? Burning more calories than you take in is how you lose weight for crying out loud. I still say that by claiming that their drink “burns more calories than it contains” they are implying that it would cause weight loss. What other possible reason would they have for making the claim?

    Comment by hatrack — October 21, 2006 @ 7:20 am
  13. “Don’t happen to work in marketing, advertising or for Coca Cola, do you? Burning more calories than you take in is how you lose weight for crying out loud. I still say that by claiming that their drink “burns more calories than it contains” they are implying that it would cause weight loss. What other possible reason would they have for making the claim?”

    OK. One, a person doesn’t need to work for a company you have a beef with to disagree with you. That speaks of an arrogance that I can’t even comprehend.

    Two, just because fat loss happens when you take in less energy than you use, doesn’t mean that a product advertising that it will drain your energy faster (which is what it litterally is saying) is making a claim about weight loss.

    What’s interesting to me is that you can say that they are being dishonest because ignorant people will make a connection (that it causes weight loss) that they aren’t actually advertising, and then you say that technically it *does* help with weight loss if you have a balanced diet (being one in which you use and take in the same amount of energy). You can’t have it both ways. Either they are being dishonest because people are too lazy to open a dictionary, or they aren’t being dishonest.

    P.S.
    I don’t work for Coca-Cola or any other soft-drink company. It would be unethical for me to comment on this without disclosing such and I heavily resent being called a shill. If you can’t argue without making ad hominem attacks, don’t bother arguing at all.

    Comment by Joshua — October 22, 2006 @ 10:32 pm
  14. “50% more than the 8 oz size” (at 55% higher price.)

    The people working at/for Coca-Cola Co. KNOW how people *mistakenly* make the connection between their claims and weight loss. They probably actually know to within 1% what portion of the public will do so. I’d bet they are, in fact, counting on it.

    So, what’s the big deal if this website educates some of those people so they don’t make that mistaken connection and understand it is NOT a “weight loss” drink? Just seems like the right thing to do to me. Or should education be reserved for the educated?

    I love the “when used with a balanced diet and exercise” disclaimer on most items that actually DO claim to be weight loss products. Gee, if I get off my butt and start eating right that sugar pill will make me lose weight? Awesome!

    Comment by Cory — October 25, 2006 @ 2:16 pm
  15. There is nothing wrong with educating people. Infact I think it’s what sites like this *should* be used for. Instead of just educating people as to what claims the company is making (which the writeup did), you get people who decide to mock and deride the company for not also advertising the fact that it doesn’t do what it never said it did (which the original writeup *also* did).

    I appreciate that there are people who will make the mistaken connection between the two claims of “helps burn more calories” and “helps get rid of fat”, but I don’t see that as being the company’s responsibility (I also don’t see how it could be called a reasonable connection since it’s not reasonable to think so when you know what they are talking about. Easy, or lazy connection, yes, but not reasonable). If I buy a car looking to have one with airbags and then find out that it doesn’t have airbags but instead had anti-lock brakes, I have no leg to stand on if the problem was that I assumed ABS stood for “Air-Bag System”. It would have been wholly my fault. I should have checked around to see if what I assumed about a product was what it really was (a site like this for example would be a good place to start).

    I agree about the ads that do make the claim about weight loss, but they also usually say something along the lines of “this product has not been evaluated by the FDA” which should tip you off that it’s not a good idea (and if it doesn’t then you need to be sat down and have the world explained to you).

    Comment by Joshua — October 25, 2006 @ 8:03 pm
  16. They don’t claim that their drink “helps burn more calories” as you say. They claim it “burns more calories than it contains”. There’s a big difference. Where do these extra burned calories come from?

    Your analogy of abs brakes and airbags doesn’t really work. There isn’t the same confusion in the public mind about the two different technologies. Even you admit that people get confused with claims made about weight loss. You may not think it’s a company’s responsability to explain it. But like someone else said they shouldn’t try to take advantage of it either.

    As far as the FDA disclaimer goes I’m pretty sure they have to include that. I don’t really see most companies doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Oh, and by the way. In my earlier post I don’t think I ever said that “Enviga burns more calories than it contains”. I said that Coca Cola claims that it does. Again a big difference.

    Comment by hatrack — October 28, 2006 @ 2:03 am
  17. Caveat emptor –
    “The principle that the buyer is responsible for making sure purchases are of
    good quality.”

    Ummm, by the way, has anybody tried this stuff? Does it taste good? We pay that
    much for water sometimes, and sometimes it tastes good and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Comment by JB — November 7, 2006 @ 12:21 pm
  18. MY ENVIGA EXPERIMENT: THE EARLY GOING…

    As I mentioned, I’ve embarked upon a most enlightening nutritional quest: To see if drinking three cans of Enviga per day will, as claimed by the marketing hype, lead to increased calorie consumption.
    I started on Wednesday. I’ll update …

    Trackback by Population Statistic — November 17, 2006 @ 2:27 pm
  19. Damnit, and I thought Rock Star energy drink made you a rock star. Those false advertisers…

    Comment by Gil — December 12, 2006 @ 4:50 pm
  20. Who really cares? Don’t like the drink? Here’s a novel idea. DON’T DRINK IT. 50-100 calories is such a negliable amount, I probably burnt close to that typing this message. No need to get all excited over anything.

    Comment by Johnny Appleseed — June 1, 2007 @ 6:50 pm
  21. Let’s all do a quick survey we can publish. All of those who believe that eating cake twice a day for six months will ensure we lose weight raise their hands!

    You in the back, get your hand up!

    Ok, now let’s submit this study to the American Medical Journal for publishing. Then the bakeries of the world can start advertising how cake helps dieters lose weight.

    Our “study” would be just as valid as any the food industry comes up with.

    Oh wait, this should be a “university study” to make it more valid. Let’s get some college kids to give us their input that would make our study more valid.

    Please, give me a break!!!!

    Comment by Diabetic — March 20, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

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