Guilty pleasure

We’ve not had soft drinks in a long while. Just the fear of developing diabetes or contracting cancer because of its high sugar content has made us go slow on one of the go-to beverages for handaans or some other celebrations at home.

Of course, nothing comes close to the refreshing feeling of drinking ice-cold soft drinks on a hot, summer day. What makes them unique is the fizziness that tingles inside your mouth as you gulp your thirst away.

It took us several tries before we were able to do away with the habit of washing down every meal with a bottle of soft drinks. Just the sizzle of the drink as you open the can or the bottle makes you yearn for more.

Soft drinks come in a wide variety of flavors with colas as the most popular. There are other flavors too, ranging from citrus like orange and lime to more unique ones like cream, sodas, and even ginger.
Of course, there are now alternatives like sugar-free versions, which have less sugar and calories for those who are on a diet. The diverse flavors and choices make sodas a versatile drink that everyone can enjoy.

It has indeed become a guilty pleasure for most people, yours truly included.

But age has a way of slowing things down as you go for moderation. Yes, those threats of illnesses that you may develop should be enough encouragement for one to just go for plain water to wash down those meals.

Sugar and soft drinks were very much in the news lately owing to the alleged sugar shortage, artificial or otherwise. It appears that soft drink manufacturers, in the name of profit, are the ones causing the downfall of our own local sugar industry by insisting on buying the sweetener from neighboring countries.

Local producers claim that beverage companies stand to profit more using imported sugar as they are cheaper than those manufactured here.

United Sugar Producers Federation president Manuel Lamata was in effect saying that the bottlers are the ones behind the country’s artificial sugar shortage, in cahoots with crooks, by referring to them as the “shameless big bucks lobbyists” that are behind the so-called SO4, that controversial sugar importation plan that started all the hullabaloo in the sugar industry.

The mess has already led to the resignation of three members of the Sugar Regulatory Administration and the unmasking of hoarders who created the artificial shortage.

The local sugar industry, Lamata said, is capable of supplying the demand of soft drink manufacturers, but the problem, he said, is that these companies prefer cheaper imported sugar, mainly from Thailand.

Instead of helping the government uplift the sugar industry so that it may offer them the main ingredient of soft drinks at a cheaper price, they allegedly resort to lobbying for imported sugar to the chagrin of local producers.

Where’s the heart of these profit-oriented companies? With products that can cause consumers health issues, they still have the temerity to sabotage the local sugar industry for their own benefit.

We could only feel for the poor local producers, as well as the consuming public, not to mention the detrimental effect on the local sugar industry.

We may not be drinking soft drinks anymore for health reasons, but we stand as one with our poor local producers who are now encouraging a boycott of these drinks should their manufacturers insist on buying imported sugar, instead of patronizing the local produce.

One doesn’t have to be a hero in the mold of Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio. All that is needed is to be patriotic by supporting what is ours, instead of patronizing imported products.

Filipinos have suffered enough from these foreign vultures. It’s about time that we stand on our own.

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