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The Need For Coca-cola, Pepsi And Big Cola To Include Labels For Burning Off Calories


I will like to take this topic a bit personal because of the alarming rate of type 2 diabetes in Nigeria. Although it may not look too cool for some organization but on the other hand, health of vulnerable Nigerians must be highly considered. Today I would be focusing on soft drinks/beverages and fizzle drinks.

No doubt, the scorching heat in Nigeria today will definitely make you very thirsty and desire to take a refreshing drink (soft drink), in order to regain your energy or to refresh your tastiness. You can even dare to take two bottles of soft drink (50cl X2).
Individuals have different drinking habits, some folks will always dilute their soft drink with water, some cannot finish a 35cl soda drink while some can go on 100cl soda drink. Based on this fact, every adult should be responsible for their health related issues which resulted out of drinking or eating habits.


SOFT DRINKS AND TYPE 2 DIABETES

The World Health Organization reported that the number of adults with the disease has quadrupled in just 34 years with nearly one in 11 people now estimated to have it. Globally, more men than women now have diabetes, with experts chalking the soaring rates to the growing obesity. High levels of sugar in the blood are now responsible for 3.7 million deaths a year, with 43 per cent of people dying before the age of 70, researchers said.

The report, published in The Lancet journal, is the most comprehensive estimate of worldwide diabetes trends to date.

However, type 2 diabetes is a very different condition – largely triggered by preventable lifestyle factors. It occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin – or isn’t using its insulin as efficiently as it could.
Some characteristics of type 2 diabetes are beyond a person’s control, experts at the American Heart Association note, including:

- History
- Race or ethnic background
- Age
- History of gestational diabetes

But, there are also a myriad of modifiable risk factors that also put people at risk of developing the disease, such as:
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
- Untreated high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels

Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they typically experience a condition known as prediabetes. With prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal – but not yet high enough to be considered as diabetes, the American Diabetes Association said.People with prediabetes are on the road to developing type 2 diabetes – but also have higher risks of developing stroke or heart disease as well, experts warn.

Sugar-sweetened drinks such as colas and lemonades may play a part in the alarming rise of type 2 diabetes in the UK and the US, according to research – regardless of whether people are obese or not.

Researchers from Cambridge University said they also found a link, albeit weak, between type 2 diabetes and people who drink fruit juices or “diet” drinks containing artificial sweeteners. These are not a good substitute for sugar-sweetened drinks, they say. “Unsweetened coffee and tea or water may be the healthy option,” said Fumiaki Imamura, from the Medical Research Council epidemiology unit at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine.

With over 176 million population and life expectancy levy of 52 years in Nigeria, there is an urgent need to curb potential health problem and addressing it root cause directly.

The genesis of this problem can not be traced but the recent development in soft drink and beverage industry in Nigeria can easily be remembered

It all started with Aje market invasion with Big Cola, the slogan used was “Think Big”, does it really mean after drinking Big cola you can think big? To an extent that might be true because cola drinks contains caffeine and it can influence mental alertness. But think big also means Nigerians should consume 65cl soft drinks (extra 15cl of sugary drink). Actually, it really gained market acceptability against the ruling giants.  According to wikipedia  Ajegroup’s main competitors are big companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

This innovation by ‘think Big’ brand really satisfy many soda lovers and pushes major competitors to think big. Emergence of ‘Long throat’ indeed many Nigerians really ‘long throated’ for more without considering the long term adverse effect of such drinking habit. Pepsi Cola really stepped up their game with celebrity endorsement.

In order to have a fair share of the Nigeria market, Coca-cola re-introduced ‘Share a coke’ with more smiley, names and slang’s. This creative measure easily influence there market performance and after a while they also introduce coca-cola 60cl. Does it means when you share a coke, you open more happiness? To an extent, it may be correct because caffeine  and sugar can influence hyper activeness.

Without any argument, these brands are major competitors in Nigeria cola industry BUT they need to adequately educate their product consumers on the health implications of product abuse through adequate nutritional labeling and adverts.

COMMON ERRORS WITH SEVERE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

>No activity equivalent calorie labeling
Coca-cola has more detailed nutritional label when compared to other brands but there is a need to incorporate pictorial labels on how to burn off calories through exercise.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is called for the introduction of ‘activity equivalent’ calorie labeling on food and drink to help tackle obesity. In a RSPH public poll, consumer use of front-of pack labels was found to be relatively high with over half (56%) of people using the labeling to decide what they purchase. On average, consumers spend around 6 seconds looking at food before purchasing and are most likely to look for total calories on food labels, rather than other forms of nutritional information. However, RSHP says that consumer literacy around calorie intake is poor and that provision of calorie information without a clear interpretation might limit the usefulness of such information to the public.

>Poor content Advertisement
The use of celebrity in adverts will surely boost market share but health implication must be duly addressed in the advert process. celebrities are highly influential and many youth tend to follow their life style. A female celebrity in a cola advert requested for two (120cl) of cola drink to show how much she long throat for such brand. These drinks ought to be a refreshing drink, re-energizing you after you may have loss energy or burn calories during an exercise or mild work. A celeb in a relaxed mood is not too good to be used. The message should be focused on refreshment and energy loss.

What Way Forward?
Food labels should include exercise needed to burn off calories; simple graphics showing exercise time could be effective tactic for fighting obesity. In a policy paper, the Royal Society for Public Health writes that targeting unhealthy food products with interventions that can positively influence behaviour change should be a priority for public health authorities.

Truth is exercise doesn't truly rid our bodies of the amount of calories contained in Cola drinks. There is a need to do a better job of explaining to the public that calories consumed outweigh the calories exercised. Many hide under the canopy of exercise, daily trekking and ‘Lagos Stress’ to consume more soft drink with the mindset of burning calories while working.

The key is eating healthier, drinking more water and detoxing our systems of free radicals responsible for majority of the sicknesses we ail from, diabetes inclusive. Exercises then compliment their effects.

Lets live healthy and eat healthy.

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