Monday, February 28, 2011

Hard Truths About Soft Drinks

Shocking news that "drinking copious amounts of phosphoric acid, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and some laboratory-crafted chemical that tricks your brain into perceiving the sensation of sweet" as "the main source of liquid refreshment every day" may not be good for you — The Bitter Side of Diet Soda: Strokes.

"For the first million years or so of pre-human and human existence, water was adequate to quench our thirst," the article reminds us, later suggesting, "It is a shame the United States cannot adopt Asia's tradition of unsweetened teas, ubiquitous in shops and vending machines."

It is as common to see Korean families or groups of six share a 12 oz. bottle of pop (or "soda" as some people call it) for "dessert" after a dinner at a restaurant as it is to see Americans with individual 64 oz. containers of pop at their meals. Here, water (or alcohol) is drunk with meals. This habit I have adopted, and it makes meals much more enjoyable. Drinking pop from time to time is one thing, but drinking it as "the main source of liquid refreshment every day" seems as ludicrous as eating candy bars as one's staple food.

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Blogger 유미 said...

You're totally right: the drinking of pop has reached obscene levels. Moreover, I don't find that they're as refreshing as say a cold grass of water on a hot day.

By the way, I noticed that you made of point of calling it "pop" rather than "soda". I thought "soda" was the universal American word for carbonated beverages. I guess growing up in Buffalo there might have been some Canadian influence^^.

10:15 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

No one in Western New York would be caught dead saying "soda." Growing up just south of the border, I didn't even know Canadians also used the correct terminology. You've provided me with a newfound respect for Canadian English.

Speaking of pop, I think it's far more responsible for American obesity than food.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I stopped drinking pop a year ago and haven't looked back. I now drink decaffeinated tea, herbal tea (particularly ginger tea and roobois tea) and decaf coffee. And water. Lots of water. I have also moved away from beer towards wine when drinking alcohol, which I drink on occasion.

FWIW, in the Pacific Northwest, it is referred to as "pop," not "soda."

3:08 AM  
Blogger 유미 said...

ㅎ...Thanks for the compliment on Canadian English, but it's far from uniform here as well. For example, growing up in southern Ontario I was used to calling the bag I took to school a "back-pack" or perhaps alternatively a "school bag." I was shocked to find that in Northern Ontario, where I went to university, they call it a "pack-sack".

As for the reasons for obesity: you could be right about pop being a factor, but the sedentary lifestyle of youth today gets my vote. The students were sneaking into school during recess today to get out of the "cold" (+2 Celsius...sorry I don't know that in fahrenheit: I wonder what your views are vis a vis the metric versus imperial system!).

4:33 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Mark, that's another plug for the Pacific Northwest, one of the regions I am considering settling in. I wouldn't have to learn a new language!

유 미, yes, we call them "back-packs," too. At the supermarket, we put our groceries in bags, while I've heard in Pennsylvannia, they put them in "sacks."

About metric vs. imperial, I support the former for science and the latter for everyday life. The Fahrenheit scale is based on thge average weather extremes in Central Europe, and it is said one degree Fahrenheit is the smallest temperature difference a human can feel. Tablespoons, teaspoons, cups, etc. are much better than milliliters for cooking, because they refer to something real in our everyday existence, not something abstract.

Also, fractions seem more natural than decimal points in everyday life. That said, the precision and ease of metric calculations make it better for science.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Where in the Pacific Northwest?

Here in the PacNW, they are backpacks. One word.

I am opposed to the metric system. Invented by the French and pushed by the Carter Administration. Two strikes and its out!

11:34 AM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Back in 1996, when I was visiting some cousins who live in California, we all watched a video of a movie that was set in the early 1970s somewhere in Middle America. One of the characters offered a soft drink to a guest by asking, "Would you like a pop?" And all my teenage cousins immediately asked, "What's a pop?"

Most schools in the Philippines are trying to cut down on the sugary drinks that students are virtually addicted to by serving only iced tea in the cafeterias--but these are often sweetened to terrible levels as well.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Tiago said...


Please, please, please stop spreading these ridiculous slanders about the French. It's uncharitable, to say the least, and you know how many choice words you might have for me if I had repeated those sentiments replacing "French" with "Jews", for instance.

I understand you were trying to be facetious, but it doesn't really come off as clever so much as stupidly xenophobic.


11:49 AM  

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