SHOULD GOVERNMENT LIMIT THE SIZE OF SUGARY DRINKS?

“… the new Pepsi long throat bottle, that satisfies everyone, now 20 % extra at the same price. Blah, blah, blah… ” (I think that’s how the advert goes.)
I believe most of us are familiar with the recent Pepsi advert. You might have seen or heard it on your TV and radio stations. And for those who do not do any of the above, you should have come across it on billboards, in posters and magazines. The social media addicts should be conversant with the trending hash tag #thingsilongthroatfor.
Companies would do anything to promote their brands. Billions of naira are spent on advertising and marketing these products everywhere. My favourite Pepsi advert is the one that has this random guy ordering for a ridiculously large-sized portion of meal, accompanying it with the Pepsi long throat bottle, only realising afterwards that he wasn’t satisfied. Then he goes ahead to ask for more food. I expected him to ask for another bottle of Pepsi. The advert in all was a funny one for me. After repeatedly hearing and listening to these adverts, I had this bugging question that dwelt for so long in my mind :”Do you think the size of sugary drinks has gotten out of hand? “.
” Now 20%extra at the same price “. This sounded like the voice was telling me,” Tired of life? Want a fast route to hell? We at Pepsi now have the solution. Here’s more sugar

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for you at the same price “. I like soft drinks. I find them really refreshing, especially after having walked a long distance on a hot and humid afternoon, after being at work for several hours and now feeling tired or when I’m stuck in Lagos traffic. The magic of the fizz seems to soothe ones nerves and mind at such times. Most of us take soft drinks. Some drink more than others. Here are some of the reasons we love these beverages:

It’s very tasty – The taste could be one thing that gets us addicted to drinking carbonated drinks. It is delicious. In fact, it is so good that many people drink it with every meal.

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It’s everywhere – even if you want to drink something else, you would be hard pressed to find it as prominently displayed in a vending machine, at fast-food restaurants, supermarket checkouts and in parties. You might not realize how ubiquitous coke, pepsi and the likes are in our society until you try to stop taking these beverages.

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“Grab and go! “-the most addictive thing about soft drinks is the convenience. If you want something quick or are in a hurry, it’s so easy to grab and convenient to drink.

Promotion and Advertising – Soft drinks are heavily consumed in part because companies promote their brands vigorously. Coca-Cola for instance had the “Shareacokewith” trend going for them. This lured potential buyers as everyone wanted their names on the label. The products are marketed everywhere;stores, restaurants, petrol stations, malls and even schools. You find their logos in every shop and on every street. They go as far as sponsoring TV programs. This makes them really valued and accepted by the unthinking masses and even animals.

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Picture source:google
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It is cheap! – Soft drinks are pretty inexpensive when compared with fruit juice and milk. And what’s more, the likes of Pepsi (Nigeria) is making it even cheaper.

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Habit/Addiction – For some people, drinking several bottles of soft drinks a day is a force of habit. You know drinking beverages is a habit when you find yourself wanting to go to a nearby store or kiosk at 10:30pm,just to have a drink.

Thirst-  People often drink it to quench thirst, especially in a hot climate like ours.

Now sugar may be sweet, but the health effects of sugar consumption are definitely not. Drinking large amounts of sugar can lead to serious health problems. Sugar drinking causes health issues on a scale similar to cigarette smoking, but surprisingly receives less negative attention. The most common of these health problems are obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and heart diseases. The other major problem being “ADDICTION”. it’s pretty bad when someone can compare themselves to an alcoholic because they like to drink carbonated drinks. You know something is wrong and needs to be changed when it gets to that. I feel bad for thousands of people addicted to soft drinks. Sugary drinks, including the diet versions;which claim to have no added sugar and can keep a check on the weight factor, leave an overall lower dietary quality. Also, study has shown that people who drink sugary drinks do not feel as good as someone who had eaten the same amount of calories from solid food. We can’t blame the guy in the Pepsi advert for requesting for a huge portion, despite having his Pepsi long throat bottle.

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If you are reading this article, there are certain facts you should know before putting your lips to another bottle or can of soft drink.

To start with, Soft drinks are useless. There are no nutritional components in soft drinks. Soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugar. Before you grab the next bottle consider this;

“The average 12 ounce Cola drink contains 9 teaspoons of sugar. “

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“One can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55mg of caffeine and is loaded with artificial food colours. “

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This alarming amount of sugar, calories and harmful addictives in a product that has absolutely no nutritional benefit. Yet, the soft drink market in Nigeria continues to bloom. Nigeria has the been and is still Coca-Cola’s largest market in Africa,with teenagers and children being the largest consumers.

Weight gain- several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. Sugary foods are full of calories, yet will do little or nothing to satiate your hunger. Study has shown decreasing or increasing ones sugar consumption shows corresponding changes in body weight. Want to lose weight? Cutting your sugar intake is a good way to start.

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Diabetes- with diabetic rates flying everyday, I think one should limit their level of sugar consumption. Drinking lots of soft drinks is not only associated with weight gain, but with type 2 diabetes.

Reduced bone strength – it has been reported that women who consumed regular and diet coke tend to have weaker hip bones than those who don’t. Also, high soft drink consumption in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones. Researchers say that the degree of bone weakness correlates to the amount of beverage consumed.

Tooth decay / Cavities – trust your dentist on this one. Sugar is such an enemy to dental health. The connection between sugar and cavities is perhaps the best established. Tooth decay occurs when “bacteria” that live in the teeth feed on simple sugars, creating an acid that destroys the enamel. A cavity is formed when erosion of the enamel exposes the soft, inner core of your tooth. When you drink carbonated drinks, the sugar remains in your mouth promoting the process that leads to tooth decay. The acid in these drinks further increase the likelihood of developing cavities, as the chemicals slowly erode the enamel of your teeth.

Obesity – one of the most cited risk of sugar consumption. Taking sugary sweetened, carbonated drinks adds calories to your diet, which may increase your risk of being overweight. And study has shown that this risk is greater for women than men and for adults when compared to children and adolescents. Obesity is also a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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Nutritional Deficiencies – if you are consuming lots of sugar, chances are you are skipping other things you should be eating instead. Soft drinks displace milk and juice in children and this contributes to nutritional deficiencies. Drinking these beverages may reduce ones consumption of protein, starch, dietary fiber and vitamins. People who drink soft drinks a lot tend to eat less when compared to those who do not.

Belching – carbonated drinks contain dissolved carbon dioxide, which becomes a gas when it warms to your body temperature in your stomach. Consuming these drinks may cause repeated belching as your stomach stretches from the accumulation of carbon dioxide gas. Food and stomach acid may come up your food pipe as you belch, causing heartburn and a sour taste in the mouth.

Addiction – researchers have observed that occasional sugar drinking consumption can lead to behavioural changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse. This finding was based on a study involving sugar-addled rats displaying craving and withdrawal behaviour.

These problems could raise our number of hospital visits. Knowing this, don’t you think the government has a role to play in deciding the size of sugary drinks? I think the amount of sugar consumed should be in control. The intake should be limited, especially for children. Limiting drink size can increase mindful eating and it helps in paying attention to what you are buying.

Many of these companies use manipulation to lure potential buyers, not honesty. Manufacturers will print anything on a label if it meant more money in their pockets. Take for instance, the introduction of the diet versions of these beverages –  these versions claim to have no added sugar. This is believed to keep the weight gain in check. Because of this teenagers and women especially consume this product ever more than before. In real truth, most of these drinks labeled “light”, “low-fat”, “zero” or “diet” actually contain more sugar. By taking one main ingredient out of a food, a bunch of other ingredients have to be added.

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Our government maintains control over other things. Why not the misleading or manipulation from big companies? Is our government doing what’s right for us?

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control(NAFDAC), The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and also the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)  limit what kinds of Medicine people can take. How much “bacteria” is allowed in the food. What kinds of chemicals are allowed in foods and medicines, etc. These bodies are put in place for a reason. That reason is to keep people safe. So the government can improve public health by also limiting the size of sugary drinks people consume.
To some we have the right to drink whatever we want, after all, it’s our bodies and government shouldn’t tell us what to and what not to drink.

Soft drinks are like drugs that are dirt cheap, highly addictive, totally legal and could be sold readily to the people, especially children who become hooked for the rest of their lives. They are like cigarettes, but without the bad press. “

So you see, the health of our peers are at risk here. If we try to reduce the amounts, we could help save so many children and adults from these health problems. Diabetes, Obesity and many other problems aren’t good for our body. They could be so bad and even lead to death. We can and should save people from these pathetic occurrence.

Now that this has been addressed, there are things to do. PROVIDE MORE WATER. Water is one of the most inexpensive things, it flows in rivers and streams. Most of which is natural. We have our freedom rights, but we also have consequences because of those rights. We need to own up to the damage we have and are doing to our health.

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A glass of cold water is less attractive but a much healthier and better choice in terms of survival. It’s always better to prevent than cure.

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MODERATION IS BEST IN EVERYTHING YOU DO:D _ellie

#ISSUESOFTODAY
#let’stalkwithellie

References
Livestrong.com
WriteonFHS
Termlifeinsurance.com
The New York times
Pubmed

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