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Coca-Cola, 7Up, Red Bull, and sugary drinks come under medical and public relations fire


Coca-Cola, 7Up, Red Bull, and sugary drinks come under medical and public relations fire

Coke, Pepsi, Bigi and other soft drinks in Nigeria are facing a new public relations dilemma over accusations about their danger to public health.

The latest public relations fire is coming from the Nigerian Medical Association, Nigeria Cancer Society, and other apex medical bodies in the world’s biggest black nation.

They have raised an alarm that sugary drinks pose one of the greatest dangers to public health and the principal cause of diabetes.

In a petition and open letter to the President, the Medical Association outlined 4 reasons why drastic action should be taken against soda bottlers and a special tax imposed.

  1. Sugary drinks are too cheap to consume and the harmful effects are too expensive to treat.

Sugary drinks are a major cause of Type II Diabetes. Poor Nigerians spend more than N54.5 Billion annually treating Diabetes, hurting our economy.

  1. Nigeria (6.7%) has one of the lowest rates of sugary drinks tax around the world.

This is lower than other countries such as South Africa, Mexico, Qatar (50%) Barbados (70%)

  1. Nigeria’s sugary drinks tax is around 6% while the tax on insulin, an essential medicine for diabetes core, is 20%.

This is unfair to poor people living with diabetes whose monthly cost of treatment is more than Nigeria’s minimum wage.

  1. South Africa has the best healthcare system in Africa.

They use strategic revenue generated from their sugary drinks tax to fund their country’s health sector. We can do the same.

The petition was jointly signed by the Nigeria Medical Association, Diabetics Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Cancer Society, and the Nutrition Society for Nigeria.

Does the sugar in Coca‑Cola and other soft drinks cause diabetes?

Coca-Cola, 7Up, Red Bull, and sugary drinks come under medical and public relations fire

On one of its international websites, Coca-Cola offered a responsible response, stating that;

“Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Eating and drinking too many calories, including soft drinks, can contribute to weight gain, which in turn increases the risk of diabetes.

“A balanced lifestyle is key to successful weight management. Like all food and drink, soft drinks with sugar can be consumed in moderation as long as people don’t consume them to excess.

“For those who want to reduce their calorie and sugar intake, we offer a variety of great-tasting drinks with reduced, low or no sugar and calories, like Diet Coke, Coca‑Cola Zero Sugar and others.

“It’s also why we offer many of our drinks in small pack sizes. We provide information on how much sugar and how many calories are in our beverages, so people can choose what makes sense for them and their families.

“We recommend that anyone concerned about the risk of diabetes contact their doctor.”

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