November 1st, 2002America: Drowning in Sugar
(NOTE: This article is from the old School of Natural Healing Newsletter)
by Nathan Jaynes, MH
On a recent trip to Atlanta, I had some extra time and decided to tour the Coca-Cola museum. The tour consists of a three story office building filled with old time Coke memorabilia, movies, souvenirs, and even a taste test of the Coca-Cola products sold in various countries. There is a digital sign in the lobby that estimates how many of their fizzy beverages are served and the running total is in the trillions (the last four numbers are a complete blur). I was amazed that a multi-billion dollar corporation had risen from selling fizzy flavored sugar water and caramel coloring. Standing in this soft drink Mecca, it was hard not to think of Utah, its snow capped mountains, beautiful desert landscapes, and the lines of people at gas stations re-filling their super-sized mugs with fountain drinks. Is this incessant guzzling of carbonated drinks a bad habit or a bad addiction? What do these bubbly beverages do to your body once you drink them? Let’s explore some facts.
The soft drink industry produces the equivalent of 576 twelve ounce cans per year for every man, woman, and child in America. That’s a lot of soda. This over consumption is spurred on by several factors.
One, soda used to be sold in 6 ½ ounce bottles but are now sold in 12 ounce cans, 16 ounce bottles and 64 ounce bladder busters at the local convenience store.
Two, caffeine, a mildly addictive stimulant is added to four of the five most popular soft drinks. This keeps us coming back for more.
Three, soda is aggressively marketed to every age group but especially children and teenagers (to the tune of millions of dollars each year). Two of the most well known brand names in the world are soft drinks.
As you may have guessed, a diet full of sugary carbonated beverages isn’t going to help with your waistline. In fact, many scientists now agree that increased soda consumption is partially responsible for America’s growing number of obese and seriously overweight people. Other side effects include tooth decay, blood sugar problems such as diabetes, bone loss, and even kidney stones. You may say “Well at least I’m drinking liquid, so I won’t get dehydrated.” But that’s not true either. Caffeine is a diuretic, and actually takes water out of your body.
What I want to know is whose bright idea it was to place soda machines in schools. Have we traded our children’s health for a few extra dollars? Having gone through public schools here in Utah, I know that many kids use their lunch money to buy a can of soda and a candy bar and forego the often bland cafeteria food. Shouldn’t we teach our children about proper nutrition in our institutions of learning instead of cashing in on their sweet tooth? Come to think of it, the only thing missing from that museum in Atlanta was a picture of an overweight diabetic child with periodontal disease.