Friday, 11 May 2007

Soft Drinks, Hard Facts.

An old post from my, now defunct, food chemistry blog:

Some time ago I stumbled across this rubbish on the internet:
Top Ten Reasons Never To Consume Soft Drinks!

A few lessons in clear thinking (and food chemistry) are called for .
I couldn't resist answering a few of the points. (Well, all of them really.)

1. Soft drinks steal water from the body. To replace the water stolen by soft drinks, you need to drink 8-12 glasses of water for every one glass of soft drinks that you consume!

So you would dehydrate and die if you only had soft drinks to drink?

2. Soft Drinks never quench your thirst, certainly not your body's need for water.

See Item 1.

3. The elevated levels of phosphates in soft drinks leach vital minerals from your body. Soft Drinks are made with purified water that also leach vital minerals from your body. A severe lack of minerals can lead to Heart Disease (lack of magnesium), Osteoporosis (lack of calcium) and many other diseases. Most vitamins can not perform their function in the body without the presence of minerals.

Apart from colas, which soft drinks have phosphates?
Are we on a soft drink only diet here? No chance you might get a bit of nutrition from other foods? French Fries maybe?
Tap water is largely mineral free. (Unless you live in Adelaide.)
As is most bottled water. So what are you saying? I need to drink sea water?
And where does that leave vitamin supplements?

4. Soft Drinks can remove rust from a car bumper or other metal surfaces. Imagine what it's doing to your digestive tract as well as the rest of your body.

Urban myth. Try it. It doesn't work.

Anyway, my digestive tract is not made out of steel. Neither is my car bumper, actually.

5. The high amounts of sugar in Soft Drinks causes your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a "sugar crash".

Now, this is possibly true, after a fashion. I mean, would one drink send you into a "sugar crash"?

6. Soft Drinks severely interfere with digestion. Caffeine and high amounts of sugar virtually shut down the digestive process. That means your body is essentially taking in NO nutrients from the food you may have just eaten, even that eaten hours earlier. Consumed with french-fries which can take WEEKS to digest, there is arguably nothing worse a person can put in their body.

Oh, I love this one!
Remember caffeine is only in cola soft drinks, generally. But is also in tea and coffee. As is sugar, quite often. So does the same follow?
And just where does your body actually store these frenchfries for their week of residence? Would soft drinks not be the ideal dieter’s food if this were true?

7. Diet soft drinks contain Aspartame, which has been linked to depression, insomnia, neurological disease and a plethora of other illness. The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints about Aspartame, that's 80% of all complaints about food additives.

I find the numbers hard to believe. Complaints about aspartame out number complaints about preservatives, colours, MSG, flavourings, and salt? I don’t think so.

Yes, it probably has been linked to these things. Most additives have a long list of suspected side effects. Some people do have adverse reactions to all sorts of things. Most don’t. Some people are fatally allergic to peanuts. Should we ban peanuts?

8. Soft Drinks are EXTREMELY acidic, so much so that they can eat through the liner of an aluminum can and leach aluminum from the can if it sits on the shelf too long. Alzheimer patients who have been autopsied ALL have high levels of aluminum in their brains. Heavy metals in the body can lead to many neurological and other diseases.

Yes, soft drinks can eat through aluminium cans IF the lacquer is faulty. So can orange juice. The evidence re Alzheimer’s is not conclusive and current medical opinion does not support aluminium as a cause. Aluminium is not a heavy metal.

Just by the by: if Coca Cola does get in contact with the aluminium due to lacquer failure the colour (caramel) will precipitate out, leaving a clear liquid.

9. Soft Drinks are EXTREMELY acidic: The human body naturally exists at a pH of about 7. Soft Drinks have a pH of about 2.5, which means you are putting something into your body that is hundred of thousands of times more acidic that your body is! Diseases flourish in an acidic environment.

Oh goodness me!
The stomach is also somewhat acidic, down as low as ph 2.0. Why should it worry about a drink that is not even as acidic as lemon juice?
Bacteria do not flourish in an acidic environment; that is why things are preserved in vinegar.

10. Soft Drinks are the WORSE THING you can possibly put in your body. Don't even think of taking a sip of a Soft Drink when you are sick with a cold, flu or something worse. It will only make it that much harder for your body to fight the illness. all those times I was given lemonade when I was recovering from an upset stomach as a boy...

They are hardly the WORST THING you can put in your body. What about cyanide, strychnine and Brussels Sprouts?


There is nothing like a really good ratbag to cheer up an otherwise dull evening.


  1. Intersting Lee. But you would agree that soft drink is bad, right?

  2. Everything in moderation would be my call.
    Except prattish data from the Internet.

    (I definitely dont mean you, Lee.)
    How I enjoy your blogs!

  3. No, soft drinks are not bad. No food is bad. Unnecessary perhaps, but that is not the same as bad. They are 'dead food', no significant nutritional value apart from energy, but are not a problem in moderation.

  4. Soft drinks are alright, but I prefer the hard ones.

  5. I often wonder who starts such propaganda. Dairy farmers?

  6. Hmmmm....I give up soft drinks every now and then, however I always end up falling off the wagon.

  7. haha, i would think that the hydrochloric acid in my digestive track would be more likely to remove rust from a bumper......

  8. I'm off to make myself a Double Sars...stuff 'em! I need to quench my thirst!

  9. my favorite absurdity is the insistance that it is impossible to get adequate nutrition from food, and that one must take vitamins.

    remarkable, in that case, that the human race survived long enough to invent vitamin pills.

  10. omg I have my can of Diet (decaf) Coke here with me right now! lol REALLY! It should be my biggest problem! lmao

    Happy Sunday

  11. Excellent, I can continue to quaff my regular, full sugar with added caffiene coke with no worries

  12. Actually, I ain't sure where y'all stand on the soda pop thing, but, here's one t'add, if yer up fer it.

    I heard once (all great theories come that way, don't they?) that smoking one cigarette gave you the same chemical reaction as drinking ten cans of coke. The report went on to say that long before cancer sets in, most smokers will succumb to renal failure.

    Five years as of last cigarettes other than when I stand around smokers, sniffing at them for their second hand smoke.
    Still, I like my pop, and, worse than that, DIET POP.
    I give myself a lil break, though.
    Caffiene free.

  13. I find your blog fascinating, if somewhat over my head. But I love a post that deconstructs those infallible words of wisdom we're constantly receiving from the health police crowd. Now, back to breakfast (Diet Coke and a cigarette).

  14. next thing you will be telling us that smoking is ok, since the carcinogens are all over around us so its not bad to smoke.. huh? studies have linked soft drinks with diabetes, a major cause of heart disease, strokes, neuropathies, retinopathies, leg ischemia and amputation if not controlled well. did i make my case?

  15. Not at all, you have yet to present a case. (Except lowercase). Which studies?

    And, no, I do not support smoking. That is a 'straw man' argument. Stay on topic and use facts.


Moderation cuts in six days after posting.