By Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal
You are on a first date in Japan. The pressure is CRUSHING! This make-it-or-break-it event can be DEADLY… especially, if impressing your date requires gulping down a slice of Fugu or Blowfish at the hip new Sushi bar. Known as “Fuku” in western Japan, the Blowfish contains poisons that may cause INSTANT DEATH if not properly prepared by a certified chef!
If hospital bills could be compared, one common “beverage” found in the American diet poses a greater risk than all of the $50 plates of Fugu served in Asia. Unlike the paralyzing death that occurs within 24 hours from ill-prepared Blowfish consumption, American’s favorite “refreshment” kills slowly with little warning. To introduce the health-ravaging offender, we need NOT look in our oceans, rivers or lakes, but in any American refrigerator.
If you were asked the million dollar question: what contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine and is loaded with artificial colors and flavors in a single 12 once alluminum can? Don’t know? Here is another hint: the average American slurps down about 56 gallons each year. Hmmm, still stumped? I bet all of this thinking is making you thirsty! Go down to the fridge and grab your favorite can of empty calories or artificial sweeteners and the solution to the question will be right on the tip of your tongue! If your final answer is soda, you are the big winner… unless of course you are drinking it!
The loss of health paid for regular soda consumption is HUGE! The ingredients contribute to a wide array of maladies from osteoporosis to digestive disorders. In 2007, the annual consumption of soft drinks worldwide reached a staggering 146 billion gallons. This would be enough liquid to supply Niagra Falls for nearly three days! It is safe to say drinking soda is part of the human experience. Let’s take a look at the science to see if the millions of people gulping down sodas each day have a love affair with the carbonated sweetie or a fatal attraction?
International Journal of Clinical Practice 2009
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006
Journal of the American Medical Association 2004
The New England Journal of Medicine 2009
British Medical Journal 2008
The Lancet 2001
Still not ready to can your can of soda because it is DIET?
Ohio Dental Association
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008
Maybe you read that soft drinks are not as bad as many say?
American Journal of Public Health 2007
Whether it’s the sugar or caffeine rush, no calorie weight-loss façade, stimulating taste or just the billion dollar ad campaigns, sodas will continue to stain the fabric of human health. If seltzer water and a splash of fruit juice fail to quench your thirst or impress your date, consider drinking in moderation and stick with the Fugu. After all, the most nutritious part of a soft drink may be the bubbles.