Coca-Cola thwarts the lawsuit it faced regarding the product ‘Diet Coke’. A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit claiming that Coca-Cola Co’s advertising for Diet Coke misleads people into thinking that consuming the soft drink assists in weight loss and that it actually causes weight gain.
The plaintiff, Shana Becerra, claimed that she and others would not have bought Diet Coke, which was launched in 1982, but for the word “diet” and ads such as one showing the soft drink being poured by a bare-chested man with a well-muscled torso. Becerra alleged that the drink, according to science actually results in weight gain.
Becerra, who lives in Santa Rosa, California, claimed that non-nutritive sweeteners such as Diet Coke’s aspartame interfere with the ability to metabolize calories and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
She sued on behalf of California residents for unspecified damages and an injunction against marketing Diet Coke as “diet.”
What The Court Decided
In a decision on Tuesday, however, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said 13 studies cited by Becerra were “equivocal” as to whether diet soda causes weight gain, and that she must prove it does to prevail.
He also noted that supermarkets do not display Diet Coke in the health food section, and said reasonable consumers would understand that any caloric savings would lead to weight loss only as part of a “sensible diet and exercise regimen” dependent on individual metabolism.
“Becerra has overstated the actual science,” Alsup wrote.
The judge separately rejected Coca-Cola’s argument that federal law preempted the lawsuit, which sought class-action status.
Coca-Cola argued that its use of the term “diet” complied with federal regulations and that an order deeming such use false or misleading would indirectly impose a requirement not identical to the United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Is This The Ultimate Win For Coca-Cola?
A lawyer for the plaintiff did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a request for comment. Coca-Cola did not immediately respond to a similar request.
Coca-Cola relaunched the Diet Coke brand in January to stem falling sales and added blood orange, cherry, ginger-lime and mango flavors in taller, thinner cans.
While this lawsuit may be complete, others directed at Coke are still on the docket around the world. That includes not-for-profit Praxis Group, which sued Coca-Cola last January over its advertising tactics, which they likened to deceptive tobacco advertisements.
Also, earlier in the last march, a Nigerian High Court ruled that the company’s drinks may be poisonous.
However, the company continues to grow surprising the analysts’ expectations and has been transitioning from the sugar market.