Fast food and Olympic Athletes don’t go together – or do they? Once again, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are Worldwide Olympic partners at the Sochi Winter Games. One of the main aims of the Russian Olympics is ‘the promotion of a healthy lifestyle’. Yes, let’s have a burger, fries and a coke to help us get fit and healthy!
But is the Sochi Olympics sponsorship back-firing on McDonald’s and Coca-Cola? ‘We Are Social’ reports that McDonald’s were mentioned 18,000 times on social media. 99% of those comments were negative. People just did not like the link between fast food and sport.
Children and fast food marketing
Unfortunately, children do not think like that. Food marketing is having a big impact on what our kids want to eat. Food adverts on TV are also linked to higher levels of snacking, greater obesity and higher cholesterol in children. In the US, a third of all children are overweight and 1 in 5 obese. Teenage Olympians show how bad this has got in the US. The USA half-pipe team just ate McDonald’s for the first few days. They only backed-off when heart specialists said NO MORE.
But what can the Olympic athletes eat instead? Borscht is a Russian hearty soup made from beetroot, potatoes, tomatoes and meat. A 400g bowl of soup has just 200 calories with 2.2g of saturated fat, 18g of protein and 15g of carbohydrates. A 215g Big Mac has 550 calories with 10g of saturated fat, 25g of protein and 46g of carbohydrates. Add a can of coke to that and you add 140 calories and 39g of sugar!
Russian cuisine also includes blinis or pancakes, beef stroganoff, shashlyk kebabs, dumplings and potato salad. But Russia has also succumbed to the fast food epidemic sweeping the world. In 2008, only 17% of Moscow inhabitants were overweight, by 2010 it had more than doubled to 38%.
IOC doesn’t need the money
Why does the International Olympic Committee continue its relationship with fast food companies? It’s not as if they need the money. Just 2% of the Olympics cost is funded by the food and drinks partners. Is anyone going to take a stand against the fast food giants? Not Rio for sure…their website already shows Coca-Cola and McDonald’s as sponsors.