Enviga from Coke: Burns More Calories Than it Contains*

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The website also says that according to their own study, [Coke has just removed the abstract of their unpublished study from the Enviga website]  the average person burned 106 extra calories drinking three cans of Enviga a day.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

Aquafresh for Kids: Contains Undisclosed Peanut Oil*

Aquafresh kids People who have food allergies always have to read ingredients labels to make sure none of the things they are allergic to is in the product. Some of the most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, seafood, and gluten. Those with allergies to any of these items could suffer health threatening reactions.

One would never suspect that any of these ingredients was contained in a toothpaste, let alone a kids toothpaste. When one scrutinizes the Aquafresh for Kids label, it seems perfectly safe and appropriate for kids with allergies.

Aquafresh ingredients

*MOUSE PRINT: According to this video news story from WCVB-TV, Kids Aquafresh  contains peanut oil, but there is no disclosure of this life-threatening ingredient on the label.

A mother discovered this hidden ingredient the hard way when her child became ill.

GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Aquafresh, says that the peanut oil is not listed on their label because they are not required to — only food products must list major allergens, not health and beauty aids.

On the Aquafresh website, in a FAQ, they say the product does not contain gluten, and the tube does not contain latex. But, there is no disclosure there about peanut oil.

The worst mouse print is the mouse print that is missing. Whether the law requires it or not, companies that market products that may cause a serious allergic reaction, particularly for children’s products, should disclose that possible threat.

UPDATE: August 4, 2006

On the website for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, GlaxoSmithKline says they told consumers that Aquafresh for kids had peanut oil to “be on safe side” since they didn’t know for sure. Now they say it has no peanut oil. Here is their statement:

“The health and safety of the consumers who use our products is of utmost importance, and we would like to assure them that no Aquafresh toothpaste products contain flavors with peanut oil, peanuts or peanut derivatives.

“We were recently contacted by several consumers requesting information about the possibility of trace amounts of peanut oil in our Aquafresh toothpaste products.   It was our belief that trace amounts of peanut oil could be present in certain flavor blends purchased by Aquafresh from external flavor suppliers. Consequently, we responded to those consumers that there was a possibility that trace amounts of peanut oil may be present in some Aquafresh products.

“Subsequently, we have contacted our flavor suppliers to confirm this information. We are pleased to learn that all of the flavor blends currently used to manufacture Aquafresh toothpaste contain no peanuts, no peanut oil and no peanut derivatives.

“Until we were able to validate our flavor blend information, we chose to err on the side of caution and told consumers that the products may contain trace amounts of peanut oil. In light of how serious some allergies can be, we felt that was the right thing to do. As an additional assurance, we are arranging to have independent tests of our toothpaste conducted.

“We apologize if this has caused any confusion or concern among our loyal customers. If consumers have additional questions, they may contact us toll free at (800) 897-5623.”