A Harvard-led study published in the journal, Circulation, on March 18, 2019 says those who drink two or more cans of sugar-sweetened beverages or soft drinks a day have a 31 percent higher risk of early death from cardiovascular disease. Each additional soda, sports drink, or sugary beverage such as juice increases the risk by 10 percent. This means that the more soft drinks or sugary products you consume, the higher the risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer.
The study outcome was based on data from two different studies in the United States involving nearly 38,000 men and more than 80,000 women who were followed for 20 to 30 years. They were asked how much they ate and drank and what their lifestyle choices were like.
Many prevoius studies have shown strong and consistent links between the consumption of sweetened beverages and obesity, diabetes and other blood sugar
disorders, tooth decay, osteoporosis and bone fractures, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, food
addictions and eating disorders, neurotransmitter dysfunction from chemical sweeteners, and
neurological and adrenal disorders from excessive caffeine.
“Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is a healthy choice that could contribute to longevity,” said Vasanti Malik, Sc.D., lead author on the paper and a research scientist in the Department of Nutrition in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
Nigeria is among the countries with a high soft drink consumption rate. A 2010 report by the National bureau of statistics (NBS) survey on consumption pattern indicates that 86.5% of Nigerians consume carbonated soft drinks. While a Euromonitor 2017 report said that 39 million litres of soft drinks were sold in Nigeria in 2016. That report established Nigeria as the 4th largest market for soft drinks globally.
The La’Casera company reports that the soft drinks market in Nigeria is estimated at $4.8b a year with about 35 million Nigerians consuming soft drinks daily.
Nevertheless, as at December 2018, over 26 countries have imposed various levels of taxes on sugary drinks. The list is growing as the the World Health Organization continues to encourage more countries to impose soda taxes so as to drive down consumption and reduce the strain on public health.
Some countries have gone further to ban advertisements of soft drinks targeted at children or the placement of soft drinks stands at schools in other to reduce obesity in children.
The soft drink companies are fighting back with low priced soft drink containers and massive adverts as currently witnessed in Nigeria. According one report, Coca-Cola alone spends an average of N500,000 daily for advertisements in Nigeria.
A study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy back in January 2019 said that Coca-Cola exerted strong influence over the way the Chinese government addressed the country’s growing obesity problem.
The bottom line is that soft-drink companies are using various ingenious ways to make us consume products that harm in just the same way cigarettes companies have done for years.
Here is a typical response from the American Beverage Association
“Soft drinks and other beverages with sugar are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet. The sugar used in our beverages is the same as sugar used in other food products. We don’t think anyone should overconsume sugar, that’s why we’re working to reduce the sugar people consume from beverages across the country.”
Sadly, despite multiple warnings, Nigerians continue to consume millions of litres of carbonated drinks on the excuse that “something must kill man.”