I am totally against promotion and consumption of sugary soft drinks.
In a country which is the diabetic “capital” of the world, consumption of soft drinks should be de-promoted by all, specifically the government. While the Indian government has finally come around to almost banning cigarette smoking in public places (considered by many as successful), and advertising gory images on cigarette packs to dissuade would-be smokers, I believe time has come for a public campaign against consumption of sugar-based soft drinks.
Everyone, including the government, knows the power of the multi-national soft drink companies. A few years ago, a government-affiliated agency (can’t recall exactly which one) went against some specific brand of soft drink, after a chemical analysis which revealed the dangerous constituents of the drink. There was such a backlash against that agency, eventually the whole thing died down. This was despite the fact that some MPs sought more action on the matter.
What would a common man derive from this ? Ofcourse, the same derivation that any man with common sense would derive. That these companies have marketing, public relations and money power. What can the health department of a poor country do, or what can an average Indian do ?
Well, people forget. Further the advertising of soft drinks evolved over the past few years to target the younger generation, even the kids. It is depressing to see that some of these companies and their advertising agencies go to an extreme during the cricket matches and tennis tournaments. With a young captive audience, it is no wonder that the advertising is having a good impact. My son always demands a soft drink, a chilled one, and we always refuse as responsible parents. We ask him to take fruit juices with no added sugar.
Obesity – that evil disease which leads to coronary ailments and diabetes – is the result if we allow uncontrolled consumption of sugary drinks and food. On a recent trip to one of the best supermarkets in town, I was pleased to note that out of the 6 shoppers in front of me at the billing counter, only one had a 2 litre bottle of soft drink. Am I dreaming ? I have always seen almost everyone ahead of me carrying atleast one or two big bottles, and may be a dozen cans for some party or whatever.
Well, people are getting more educated everywhere in India. And, fortunately the soft drinks are priced much above 25% of the daily wages in rural India, thereby limiting consumption unless they come up with 10 ml sachets as they did for shampoos ! Hopefully the soft drink consumption won’t increase in the villages, but I do not have statistics.
I am all for water – not even bottled water. Just boil, cool and drink ! Or, fresh fruit juices. Or, fruit juices which claim that they do not have any added sugar or preservatives. But nothing more. One of the best drinks is Soy Milk. Lots of proteins as well !
So, let us avoid soft drinks of any type – Indian or Foreign. It is better to control our waistlines, and avoid health problems. And, do not forget, that our children are prone to extreme advertising and we should not initiate the soft drink habit at all – they will keep drinking all their lives ! We keep no soft drinks at home, not even for parties. Throw these unhealthy drinks out !
Have a good weekend, folks, and do not drink harmful soft drinks !
6th June 2009