Coca-Cola or 'bottled poison'?

While touring southern Chiapas state last month, Mexico’s coronavirus czar took aim at a local vice he considers culpable for the country’s ongoing pandemic problems: rampant Coca-Cola consumption.

Health undersecretary Hugo López-Gatell connected soda consumption with COVID-19 deaths, blaming sugar for causing comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension – maladies common in Mexico, where almost three-quarters of the population is overweight, according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“Why do we need bottled poison in soft drinks?” López-Gatell asked.

“Health in Mexico would be very different if we stopped being deceived by these lifestyles sold on television and heard on radio and which we see on adverts – as if this was happiness.”

As COVID-19 cases mount in Mexico and the death toll soars – Mexico only trails Brazil and the United States in total pandemic fatalities – López-Gatell and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have increasingly pinned Mexico’s pandemic problems on its poor nutrition habits — soda consumption chief among them.

Mexicans drink more soda per-capita than any other country – an estimated 163 liters per year. And bottlers, such as Coca-Cola, deliver its products to the remote corners of the country – where potable water is scant and soda is often sold for less than water.

Both López-Gatell and López Obrador equivocate on the effectiveness of wearing face masks. But they’ve expressed fewer doubts on the negative impact of junk food and soda consumption and its connection to COVID-19 fatalities.

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“The evidence is very clear, but there are many interests, which have led to information being covered up in other (past) administrations,” said López-Gatell who also claimed sugary drinks consumption claimed 40,000 deaths annually in Mexico.

“With products that do damage, we have to discourage their consumption so that fewer people are unhealthy.”

.USA Today

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