Monday, January 28, 2008


"There is good evidence that cola beverages can increase the risk of kidney problems, more so than noncola sodas."

I have blogged about cola beverages earlier. I recently heard a talk by my dear friend Martine Padilla a nutritionist and food economist, about the change in diets around the Mediterranean. Obesity is on the rise everywhere, but more so in poor countries (Egypt came first) and affecting poor people more than the rich, as the rich are more aware of nutritional issues and can afford the higher price tag of "healthier" food. In the Northern Mediterranean countries (France, Italy, Greece, Spain) diets are becoming increasingly Anglo-Saxon with more meat and more animal fats. In the countries of the southern Mediterranean (North Africa), cereals are still the main source of calories, but these countries are experiencing a tremendous surge in the consumption of sugar in foods but mostly in drinks. Martine gave the example of people who now drink cola beverages instead of the traditional drinks to accompany couscous. In Lebanon, people drink cola with everything, and in Ramadan, many muslim break the fast with cola and the traditional licorice root juice (sous) has almost disappeared. Cola with manoucheh, with shawarma, with most street foods, in extra large bottles.

1 comment:

Bedouina said...

It's so easy NOT to drink cola. We had a birthday party for our son last weekend. We served American coffee brewed in a large urn - 24 cups at once; black tea from loose leaf brewed in a pot; gaseous water ("seltzer"); organic fruit juices, and plain tap water in a nice glass pitcher. For the children I combined organic grape juice and bubbly water in a pitcher for a kind of "punch." There were also bagged herb teas available if people wanted to have a single cup of something special.

Everybody was happy. I didn't even think about cola drinks until the moment the first guest arrived; I worried for a minute - but what if they want a Diet Coke? and then I thought - people who drink Diet Coke get plenty of it all day long. They can drink water at our party, or coffee with sugar, or tea.

Most American parents, even the so-called "environmentally conscious" ones, serve those awful individual juice boxes/bags at parties. Incredibly wasteful. I just can't stand it and I won't buy them.

Meanwhile I am thinking about the Haitians eating dirt, and how we served cake and chips and bread and cheese and bean soup and pizzas, and there was so much left over I sent food home with my mother and other guests. How can a rich American (we are middle class, but rich is relative) share with a poor Haitian? I will have to give money to Oxfam. It's just too heartbreaking.