Following news that Coca-Cola’s chief scientist is stepping down, the controversial academic research group set up and funded by the beverage maker has now disbanded.
The group, the Global Energy Balance Network, announced on its website that it is shutting down its work, effective immediately, due to a lack of resources. The group, headed by James O. Hill of the University of Colorado, shifted focus away from the role of sweetened beverages and excess calories in poor health and obesity and instead promoted the benefits of exercise.
In August, The New York Times reported a financial link between the group and Coca-Cola, which provided $1.5 million in funding. $1 million of those funds went to the University of Colorado, which later returned the money after the financial tie was brought to light and drew criticism. Further investigations by the press found that the beverage company helped pick the group’s leaders, set up its website, and craft its mission statement.