The Power of Belief: How Cultural Ideologies Shape Lifestyle Choices

A viral video about the people in the remote town of Chamula, Mexico gave me an insight into the power of belief.

Toba Akande
3 min readFeb 29, 2024
A Worship Altar in Chamula

In Chamula, a fascinating phenomenon unfolds daily, illustrating the profound influence of belief systems on lifestyle choices. This community, nestled in the Chiapas highlands, has garnered attention for its unique devotion not to a deity or traditional practice, but to a global corporate icon: Coca-Cola.

The viral TikTok video offers a glimpse into the daily life of the people of Chamula led to the inspiration for this exploration into the power of mindset.

The video reveals a town where Coca-Cola is not just a beverage but a ubiquitous presence, permeating every aspect of life.

From Coca-Cola-themed chairs to basketball hoops, the town's affection for the soda giant is unparalleled. It said that Coca-Cola is the number one solution to almost all their problems (such that most people drink Coca-Cola to cure Diabetes)

What drives this remarkable allegiance to a soft drink?

The answer lies in the intertwined nature of belief, tradition, and identity.

Mexico: A Coca-Cola colony? — Rupert Wolfe Murray

For the people of Chamula, Coca-Cola is more than just a drink; it symbolises modernity, prosperity, and connection to the outside world.
Therefore it has become ingrained in their cultural fabric, a testament to the power of corporate branding and globalisation.

Despite the apparent health risks associated with excessive soda consumption, including diabetes and obesity, the people of Chamula remain steadfast in their devotion.

Their devotion raises important questions about the nature of belief and its impact on behaviour.

Are they aware of the health consequences? And if so, why do they continue to indulge in this potentially harmful habit?

One possible explanation lies in the concept of cognitive dissonance, where individuals rationalise their beliefs and behaviours to reduce internal conflict.

Cognitive Dissonance In Psychology

In the case of Chamula, the cultural significance of Coca-Cola may outweigh health concerns, leading to a collective acceptance of the risks.

The infographic made by The Renegade Pharmacist

It is also worth considering the role of corporate influence in shaping these beliefs.

Coca-Cola's marketing strategies have been incredibly successful in positioning the brand as a symbol of modernity and happiness. This, coupled with limited access to alternative beverages and cultural norms, has contributed to the pervasive presence of Coca-Cola in Chamula.

However, not all is lost.

There are signs of change, with some members of the community questioning the status quo and seeking alternatives. Efforts to promote healthier choices and reduce soda consumption are slowly gaining traction, highlighting the potential for mindset shifts even in deeply ingrained cultural practices.


The case of Chamula serves as a powerful reminder of the intricate interplay between belief, culture, and lifestyle. It challenges us to reflect on our own beliefs and the influence they have on our choices. As we have seen, just because an opinion is popular or commonly accepted doesn’t make it correct.

It underscores the importance of critical thinking and cultural awareness in navigating the complex landscape of belief systems and their impact on society.

Ultimately we should learn to form our ideologies independently or at least be able to objectively assess and justify popular or commonly accepted ideologies before we adopt them.



Toba Akande

Master of sarcasm, keeping my profound thoughts safely contained in words. Serious issues? I address them with a twist