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Coca-Cola goes sweet for Passover — and also for the planet

March 26th, 2010

Green Right Now Reports

Coca-Cola company announced it will be observing Earth Hour tomorrow by turning out some iconic lighted signs in cities around the world, including those in Times Square in New York, Piccadilly Circus in London, San Pedro Sula in Honduras and Kings Cross in Sydney.

Kosher Coke, available in 2 liter bottles with certification on the cap

Kosher Coke, available in 2 liter bottles with certification on the cap

The global soft drink maker also will darken corporate offices in Atlanta to observe Earth Hour on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. local time. Hundreds of countries, thousands of cities and many other corporate entities will be turning out the lights for one hour, supporting of the symbolic show of unity against climate change.

Unintentionally, Coca-Cola also took another Earth-friendly step this month, issuing its kosher version of Coke for Passover that is made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

The verdict on the Kosher Coke (which is basically just the old-style formula for Coca-Cola)? It’s yummy, according to a piece in USA Today.

“They’re quite popular not just with Jews, but non-Jews as well,” said Rabbi Alan Schwartz. (Don’t believe Rabbi Schwartz? Read  this review that calls the Kosher Coke “freakin’ awesome”.)

For Jews, the real sugar Coke avoids the inclusion of a grain by removing the corn syrup.

But Greenies, too, have reason to like this version, which has actually been out for several Passovers, in limited quantities (look for the kosher certification on the bottle cap). Consuming food and drinks made with sugar can mitigate the environmental impact of the high fructose corn syrup industry, which encourages massive monoculture crops (i.e., corn fields). This type of farming strains the soil and requires large applications of pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers.

Of course, growing sugar cane isn’t a bio-diverse enterprise. Still, sugar cane trumps corn when it comes to which crop is more efficiently grown as a stock for biofuels. (A recent study found that sugar cane gave far more return as a biofuel.)

And — this may matter more to you personally — it appears to be a healthier sweetener than corn-derived syrup.

Researchers this week released more evidence implicating high fructose corn syrup — in Coca-Cola, or anything else — in Americans’ battle with obesity.

A Princeton University study using rats found that high fructose corn syrup prompted more weight gain than plain ole’ sugar. The study details, published March 18 and found in Science Daily, showed that the rats eating a diet sweetened with high fructose corn syrup became obese very quickly, compared to their control group of sugar-consuming cousins.

Go figure. Or rather, there goes the figure.

“When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight,” psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction, told Science Daily.

Another argument for keeping kosher.


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