Because people really are that stupid

By Debra LoGuercio

©Copyright 2006, Debra LoGuercio, all rights reserved

The Coca Cola company introduced its latest, greatest product last week: enviga. This new wonder drink is designed to miraculously help your body burn calories. Just by drinking it! Its key ingredients? Green tea, calcium, caffeine and antioxidants. According to the Coca Cola rep who touted enviga, the green tea is the key. Enviga has the highest Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) content of any green tea product available, and the EGCG will make your body burn more calories and eat up those nasty free radicals and make you feel just fabulous and blabbity blabbity blab. And all you have to do is drink three cans per day and youíll burn an extra 106 calories per day!

Oh, and by the way, one can contains 100 milligrams of caffeine, the same amount as a healthy-sized cup of black coffee. Just try consuming an extra 100 milligrams of caffeine day, spread out at just the right intervals, and see if you donít become a roaring caffeine addict. If you arenít one already. Says the gal who doesnít face the world in the morning until the coffee potís empty.

But itís the EGCG thatís doing all the calorie burning magic, says Ms. Rep. Really and truly it is!

Not the caffeine. Oh no. Thatís not whatíd doing the magic.

Well, yes, Ms. Rep, it probably is. Three more jolts of caffeine per day would probably make your average American slug move a little faster over the course of the day, maybe enough to burn a paltry 106 calories. Letís get real here, folks. You could burn 106 calories by taking a 30-minute walk at lunchtime, without ever popping open a single can of enviga. And if you are among the grotesquely lazy, you could split that up into three 10 minute walks during the day and still burn the same number of calories. For free. And not will that free, simple, pleasant activity burn some extra calories, just taking the mental break while walking will make you feel a whole lot better.

Or you could plop down $1.29 per can (what Ms. Rep estimated the price to be), which if you do the math, comes out to $27.09 per week. Spread that out over the whole year, and thatís a whopping $1,408.68 per year that the Coca Cola company has managed to tweeze from your wallet. Thatís an entire trip to Hawaii, my friends! Or you could drink three cans of overpriced green tea per day. Itís up to you.

Please, please, please, tell me you arenít this stupid. Because if you are, this column is way out of your league. Stop reading right now and turn to the comics page or the classified ads. Theyíre more your speed. And youíd better start saving your pocket change for the enviga now, because itíll hit the market in January. Goodbye Oahu, hello good Ďole gross, gullible American consumerism.

Sad thing is, enviga will likely bee a runaway success. Why? Because one all-American consumer in the promotion spot summed it all up. She tried the enviga, and thought it was pretty good (unlike another curmudgeonly character who scrunched his face and declared it tasted like it was poured through an old shoe), and when informed that one could burn an extra 106 calories per day simply by consuming three cans of enviga, she commented sunnily, ďSure, if it helps me burn calories, Iíll give it a try.Ē

And therein we understand the smashing success of the Thighmaster.

People, people, people. If you do one thing for me and one thing only, donít fall for this thinly-veiled attempt to create some loyal caffeine addicts who will keep buying and consuming enviga because they think it makes them feel better. Itís the caffeine, stupid! Welcome to addiction! And, by the by, should you happen to actually burn some extra calories by chugging down 300 extra milligrams of caffeine per day, itís not because of EGCG or ABCD or LMNOP. Itís from tapping your fingers, grinding your teeth and bouncing your foot up and down incessantly because youíre wired for sound.

Pity the Coca Cola company didnít cut to the chase and join with R.J. Reynolds and just infuse their new wonder drink with nicotine too. For twice the buzz, they could have twice the market: all those smokers out there who are shunned like lepers and donít have anywhere to light up any more at break time could just gulp an enviga or two. But, of course, intentionally adding a highly addictive substance to a product and marketing it to unsuspecting consumers would be highly unethical. That would never be allowed!

Now, if youíll excuse me, I need to trot down to the local mini-mart. I need another Big Gulp of Diet Pepsi to make it through the rest of the afternoon.