When I was growing up there was only one company that made soda. That was the Coca-Cola company. So growing up I have drunk a lot of Coke and Fanta. In those days in the 80’s soda we only drank sodas at Christmas (thus the major excitement when we would watch the Coke Caravan advertisement), family gatherings or very special occasions.
Our parents used to be concerned about the amount of sugar we would take so we would be limited in the amount of soda we could drink. But the same was true for biscuits and juices as well. My mum would always buy the biscuits with the least amount of sugar (very boring I tell you) and even when she baked she would be careful that she didn’t put too much sugar.
There was this perception and still is that too much sugar is not good, especially for growing children. That is why the sugar dish was put in a high cupboard. Since I have a sweet tooth my brother and I would always find a way to get the sugar bowl. But woe unto us if my mum or our helper found us eating sugar from the bowl. The pinching (mum) and beating with a slipper (helper) we would get.
Now that I am a few years over 18 I am conscious of what I eat or drink. I can no longer get away with eating sweets every day or buying junk food like chips, biscuits, sodas etc. and taking them as if there will be no consequences. I struggle with weight issues, as most women do. But when I was younger it didn’t matter what I was putting in. I would struggle to lose weight but I was more active, I would walk a lot or exercise so I wasn’t worried about sugar.
In primary we used to walk to and from school except if it was raining then we would be dropped in school. In the earlier years when we were abit small my parents used to drop us in school on their way to work. So we had a healthy lifestyle. We would walk to school; play at break time and lunch and walk back home. In high school I was a boarder so there was not much exercise so that was the time I started to put on weight. I was asthmatic so I got excused from the run that Moi Nairobi used to carry out on Monday.
In my early 20’s health was not an issue as such I could drink and eat as much as I wanted. But when I got past the 25 year mark I realized what I am putting into my body is important. Now that I have a full time job and I am mostly in a field doing rounds in the car I don’t get to exercise as much so I have to be careful about my calorie intake. I usually say that I am one of those people who just have to look at food and my fat cells double. So when it comes to healthy living I try to do as less sugar and more healthy food and fruits.
Then there is my relationship with Coke. I usually drink soda or water when I go for functions or at a club as I don’t drink. But like many Kenyan I feel weird drinking bottles and bottles of mineral water especially if I have to hang out for a long period of time. And to be honest I have a sweet tooth and there is a point at which water becomes boring. And I know some of you think like me and are like, seriously you want me to believe this mineral water came from a natural spring and not from a tap at your company then you added some chemicals and walla “mineral water” . I know you feel me.
So if you’re like me and you end up drinking a lot of soda you would be abit concerned if you have rumors about one of the brands of soda that you drink. There are always rumors about Coke circulating the internet and the grapevine. So what is the truth about Coke? Is it safe? Does it cause Cancer? Does it really have like 5 teaspoons of sugar per bottle? Will it rot my teeth? Then there is my nephew. Like me he has a sweet tooth and he loves soda. But like my mum was with us, we are concerned about the amount of sugar that is in the sodas that he loves. And the rumors as well that they rot your teeth due to their acidic content. So you would bet I am very concerned about the issue of soda and whether it is actually safe to drink.
I got a chance today to attend a meeting by Coke at the Stanley where they were engaging bloggers on the issues that surround Coke and dispelling the myths around Coke. It was a very informative session. I still need to do abit of research on the issues we talked about before doing an article about the myths and reality. Listening to Peter Njonjo the General Manager of Coca-Cola and Phillip Ndemwa, a researcher at Kemri we were given facts to substantiate the fact that Coke is really safe to drink despite what the myths say. Coca-Cola will be having a conference next week with doctors, nutritionists and researchers as was to talk about the real truths about Coke.
The question is was I convinced that Coke is safe to drink? Yes I was. What I love is that next week they are launching a new brand called Coca- Cola Zero which has no sugar. That works for me and my lifestyle. I can still enjoy Coke knowing that the chemicals in it don’t cause cancer and that I am not getting too much sugar into my body. A win situation kinda like having your cake and eating it but that’s a story for another day.