What Is Soda Actually Good For?
My Love Affair with Sugary, Caffeinated, Carbonated Beverages
God, I love soda! (Or as we call it up here in Michigan, pop). Is there really anything more decadently delicious? From the phosphoric acid, to the Aspartame, I love every shockingly horrible ingredient contained in each 12 oz. elixir of sweetness. Nothing quite compares to the cool, crisp sting of that first satisfactory swig of swill as it sloshes over my smiling lips.
Roughly 35 times over the course of an average day (five twelve oz. cans composing about 7 drinks per serving), I swish this devil’s nectar to and fro throughout my mouth like so many tempests in a remote sea of sugar before swallowing the liquid dynamite down my contemptuous esophagus. Rarely, if ever, do I stop to consider what an insidious beverage I have just ingested. That is, until about fifteen minutes ago when I cracked open my fourth Dr. Pepper of the day.
Our society is constantly reminded of just how unhealthy soda really is, but it seems as though the message has been lost in the oversaturation of this information. Everyone knows that pop isn’t good for us, but I continue to drink it anyway in much the same way that I continue to eat fast food and listen to old Spin Doctors tunes. That is, many of us don’t care what we’re ingesting as long as it satiates some kind of craving. (Occasionally, I feel a compulsive urge to slay double cheeseburgers while blasting “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”)
Everything We Love Is Killing Us
I have no one else to blame for this pitiful addiction to soda. I can specifically remember my mother telling me as an adolescent that the exorbitant amount of Coca-Cola that I drank would eventually revisit me in the form of acid reflux as I grew older. Well, as usual, she was right. As the fading sunshine that is my mid 20’s has finally set, I have found that my esophageal issues are becoming more of a concern. With these thoughts in mind, I made a cursory list of things that soda offers its biggest fans. Soda is REALLY GOOD for you if you are interested in experiencing the following:
- Weight Gain
- Heart Attacks
- Kidney Destruction
The foul mixture of artificial sweeteners, high caloric content, and heavy dose of caffeine combine to create a dynamo of destruction in the human body. There is just not a single benefit to drinking soda (other than that amazing blast of flavor).
As if the taste wasn’t enough to get even the staunchest pop opponent hooked, soda is made all the more addictive by artificial sweeteners that are added to so-called “diet sodas.” These substitutes (such as Aspartame) are marketed as a healthy alternative to their glucosian brethren, sugar. However, their ill effects can even outweigh those found in traditional sodas.
Speaking on the negative aspects of diet soda on our wellness, Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, had this to say, “"Many people subconsciously think they're taking in less calories by drinking these crappy drinks and then subconsciously allow themselves more food… [T]here is some suspicion among nutritional scientists that sweet tastes, through a Pavlovian conditioning method, might signal insulin to release even though there are no actual calories or sugar.” These artificial sweeteners are apparently so much better for us that they can actually trick our bodies into releasing unnecessary hormones… So much for that!
Exciting Alternative Uses!!!
Aside from the various side effects that can occur from ingesting large amounts of soda (such as death), many pops have lots of useful applications! Take Coca-Cola, for example. People have been known to use Coke in the following ways:
- Removes grease stains
- Tenderizes meat
- Removes rust
- Cleans toilets
- Used to clean blood stains from automobile accident sites
- Clears frozen windshields
- Dissolving metals
So there you have it, Coke has several pragmatic uses such as aiding in stain removal, toilet cleaning, and de-icing your whip! But consider, for a moment, the inverse of each of these potential applications. Would you ever consider downing a 2 liter of laundry soap? How about a 20 oz. of toilet cleaner? Case of de-icer? What if they were as delicious as Coke? If a Coke can dissolve a rusty nail in 48 hours, just imagine what it can do to an esophagus or the lining of a stomach.
You Hypocrite, Kyle!!!
The point I’m trying to make here is that as responsible adults who care about our health and general well-being, maybe it’s time to stop giving into the many temptations our culture affords us. I’m not even suggesting that we have to stop drinking soda altogether, but I do know that my 60 oz. per day probably aren’t going to help my heartburn symptoms. While I realize the hypocrisy of this gentle admonishment, dear reader, the fact remains that soda just isn’t a healthy beverage.
It seems as though the things we love are killing us, but that doesn’t mean that we have to resign ourselves to our graves just yet! One way to cut back on soda consumption would be to not substitute a diet soda for the real thing when you eat out; drink an iced tea or lemonade, instead. Monitor your child’s intake of soda to avoid a dependence on the harmful ingredients, while keeping large stockpiles of the stuff from piling up around your house. If you’re of age and having a cocktail responsibly, don’t include the suggested soda in the mixture.
There are lots of ways to circumvent the mass consumption of pop, and there are plenty of tasty alternatives to soda that aren’t used to dissolve rust. Or tenderize meat. Or clean blood from highways. Or stop your heart from beating.