Kenyans drink a lot of Coca Cola. You can get Pepsi in the fancier stores if you really want it, but I don’t think many Kenyans have ever tried it, haha. I was never a really big soda drinker, but there’s something about having a cold Coke with Mama Oliech’s fried tilapia and ugali (a thick porridge made from maize)! What I didn’t realize until recently was that Kenyan Coke is much like Mexican Coke.
A few weeks ago, while I was in San Diego, I was talking to some buddies about how, in Portland, Oregon, it’s common to see “Mexican Coke” on restaurant menus. One buddy commented that he didn’t like Coke, that it tastes funny. Thinking that I sometimes drink Coke and enjoy it, I said I never noticed that it tasted too sweet or anything. That’s when I realized, that any Coke I have drank in the last few years would have been a Kenyan Coke!
You see, American Coca Cola is sweetened with a syrup derived from corn, high-fructose corn syrup. In America at least, high-fructose corn syrup is a cheap substitute for “real” sugar because of government subsidies on corn and high import tariffs on foreign sugar. Also, fructose is sweeter than sucrose, so corporations cut costs by having to use less.
Now you know!