Beyoncé is one of the most beautiful and talented women in the world. Recent advertisements link her fabulous looks and worldwide fame to Pepsi Cola. In reality, if she actually does drink this chemical-laden, sugary soft drink on a regular basis, her superb fitness is despite it, not because of it.

By equating a brand to success, health and prestige, junk food companies market a hip image for products that aren’t so rock & roll. PepsiCo recognizes the value of Beyoncé’s hot reputation to the sale of its products, signing a huge $50 million deal with the superstar in 2012. This far surpasses the then record-breaking $5 million dollar contract Michael Jackson and his brothers signed with the company in 1983, the year after Thriller — the best selling album of all time — was released.

Linking stardom to Pepsi was just one aspect of the company’s nearly $2.5 billion 2012 marketing campaign. Coca-Cola spent close to $3 billion that year on advertising. Clearly, these companies expect more out of each of us than the purchase of a single $1.50 cola.

Then again, these big-name performers are just flashy advertisements. Nobody is forcing us to drink soda, right?

sodee popBut the manipulation runs more than skin-deep. Teams of scientists constantly tinker with junk food formulae to determine the exact amount of sugar, salt and fat that keeps us coming back for more. The perfect sweetness, saltiness or richness is called the bliss point. At this level, the human brain lights up with the signal, “Reward!” But then the pleasure almost instantly fades and we crave more. The idea is that we should feel pleasure when we eat junk food, but never really satisfied. The manufacturer is counting on us to drink one 20 oz. bottle of cola and then want another and another and another. The same strategy applies to chips, candies, snack-cakes, breakfast cereals, sports drinks, fruit drinks and other processed foods.

Doesn’t this never satisfied craving sound suspiciously like addiction? Just as cigarette makers strive to hook smokers for life, so do junk food manufacturers. The similar tactics are specifically designed to get us to try the product and keep us hooked.

Nobody was born craving Coca-Cola. And once you stop drinking Coke, the mixture of carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors and caffeine is likely to taste as strange as these foreign ingredients actually are.

Imagine spooning 10 teaspoons of table sugar into your mouth. This is exactly what you are doing each time you drink a 12 oz. soda. Drink two sodas per day and you’ve ingested 2,100 extra calories in just one week! To avoid gaining wait, you have to burn an extra day’s worth of calories every single week. Even if you dance like Beyoncé, that’s a tough act. Your frenenemy, Sugar, will eventually win.

Although Diet Coke doesn’t contain corn syrup, these ingredients aren’t so rock & roll either: carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, citric acid and caffeine. All of these ingredients are unnatural, including the manmade “natural flavors,” and none of them deliver any benefit whatsoever.

Craving a soda doesn’t make you weak. Dozens of brilliant scientists, thousands of marketing geniuses and billions of dollars seduced your taste buds, probably when you were just a kid. But, ultimately, only you can put the soda down.

Of course, Beyoncé is the perfect woman to inspire you. Her Let’s Move! Flash Workout collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama is just as awesome for adults as for kids!