Will Nigeria Ever Withdraw Sugary Beverages From Stores?


The current trend of health risks attributed to sugary beverages and high rate of diabetes in both children and young adults has scourged the minds of medical professionals and individuals around the globe, who urge governments to withdraw sugary beverages from stores.

Findings, according to Vanguard News, shows that over 180,000 obseity-related deaths is recorded each year around the world

This means that about one in every 100 deaths from obesity-related diseases are caused by drinking sugary beverages, as propounded by a Harvard School of Public Health research. This accordingly may have informed the recent ban, when Tesco, a European supermarket brand in August 2015 decided to cut sugary drinks from its shelves – with the major culprit being Ribena and Rubicon.

Tesco, enacted these changes as most schools resumed in September 2015, the same time schools resumed in Nigeria.

Invariably, Nigerian consumers had hoped that steps could be taken by Nigerian supermarkets owners and other stores to replicate this enactment, as the children and adult alike in Nigeria experience same obesity and diabetic problem.

Other High Sugary Beverages

Other beverages with high sugar content include Pepsi, LaCasera regular, and yoghurts (the low-fat and non–fat versions). The link to Coke with high sugar content seems to have died down over the years since options have been provided in Diet coke and Zero coke.

Meanwhile, Nigerian consumers have called on government and other health authorities and shop owners to either remove or replace sugary drinks with no-added-sugar alternatives.

Like Tesco’s Soft Drinks Buying Manager, David Beardmore said,

“The ban is part of the store’s 10-point plan against obesity and, we have decided that from September (that was in 2015) we will only sell no-added-sugar drinks in the kids’ juice category.”

A good step by Tesco one may say, but can this decision be taken in Nigeria by super store managers or can Glaxosmithkline owners of the brand look for alternative for Nigerian children.?

However, outraged fans in Europe, of the popular blackcurrant cordial had gone to Twitter to voice their outrage at this Tesco decision. Some of the customers said it is insane for Tesco to pull Ribena from the shelves quote, sugar is not the problem, a lack of exercise is.’

Meanwhile, research from medical experts and consumers shows that 500ml Ribena contains 52.6grams sugar, while WHO recommends consuming no more than 10 percent/50grams per day.

Dr. Valentine Ateosu of Mosaf Medical Centre, Olodi-Apapa, coroborated the above statement, but said, “sugar is an embedded part of human active, total cut will not be good and high consumption is not good also.” In Nigeria, consumers have called for abrupt withdrawal of Ribena from supermarkets.

The sugar in Ribena is the problem, not fat, said Shola Ogundana, a medical practitioner who said danger locks around for persons who take sugary beverages like Ribena and others.

Robert Akunna, a Marketing professional with Orlick Communications said;

“This goes beyond campaign against Obesity on billboards, print and broadcast mediums. Scientists found that more people died from diabetes, heart disease and cancer in parts of the world where consumption of sugary drinks are high.”

According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, co-director of the cardiovascular epidemiology program at the Harvard School of Public Health, ‘almost three-quarters of deaths caused by sugary drinks are found in low and middle income countries.’

Explaining further, he said that beef from grass-fed cattle is fine, but not from corn-fed cattle. He noted that sweetened beverages deliver sugar but with no nutritional added value. Water and milk are the best drinks, especially for children.

Nutritional Advice

Therefore nutritionist advice Nigerians to watch out for added sugar in food and as Dr. Robert Dim, a Nutrition expert, would advice:

“Eat the fruit, don’t drink the juice. Fruit juice in cartons has had all the fibre squeezed out of it, making its sugars more dangerous.”

On cookies and cake, Dim said,

“If you must eat them, bake them yourself with one third less sugar than the recipe as they taste better that way.”

Read Also: More Doctors Are Prescribing Exercise Instead Of Medication