The year was 1992,
Miley Cyrus was born, a Clinton was running for president, and McDonald's was making pizza for some reason.
It was also the release of Crystal Pepsi, the clear cola released to much fanfare that slowly crumbled and disappeared, similar to Euro Disney, also opened the same year.
A re-release of the iconic beverage happened this year and you may have noticed it along with efforts by Coke and Pepsi to move into "healthier" beverages. Coke released Coca-Cola Life and Pepsi has Pepsi Next. Both products eliminate the use of high fructose corn syrup and use stevia as a sweetener instead of artificial sweeteners. There is somehow the confusion that just because something uses real sugar, or cane sugar that it automatically becomes like a health elixir.
If you were looking for a reason to avoid these drinks of Americana here are 4 reasons you'll want to avoid them.
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
This is generally the main ingredient in all colas, it is super cheap to make and is the main reason why drink sizes have become enormous over the years. Manufacturers could now create drinks the size of a hatchback without any real additional cost. High fructose corn syrup also has a longer shelf life, another good feature in the eyes of manufacturers. Unlike regular sugar, HFCS goes straight to the liver and triggers lipogenesis which refers to when triglycerides and cholesterol are produced. This can cause "fatty liver", one of the main causes of liver damage that affects millions and millions of people.
2. Regular Sugar
I mentioned that Coke and Pepsi had tried to make changes by introducing regular sugar into new beverages but it is still liquid sugar. Think of it like drinking a chocolate bar that causes huge spikes in blood sugar. This fast acting sugar creates insulin surges and along with the blood sugar spike results in the inevitable crash and then the craving for more sugar. With continuous consumption over time you are looking at some real nasty stuff like type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease
Non-fun fact: For the longest time Type 2 Diabetes was called "Adult onset diabetes" but as it began to turn up in so many kids a new term had to be created and here we are calling it Type 2.
3. Phosphoric Acid
This is probably one of the ingredients you haven't paid attention to but should be something you are familiar with. Phosphoric acid is used in colas to help give it a sharper taste. It is also there to slow the growth of mold and bacteria which tends to happen really quickly in a sugary solution.
The reason you need to be aware is phosphoric acid can lead to low mineral bone density and osteoporosis . Phosphoric acid is also bad for tooth enamel and is one of the reasons Coke can work well as a toilet cleaner, as phosphoric acid does a great job of breaking down lime scum on porcelain. Delicious!
4. A Built-In Thirst Mechanism
Again, you might have wondered why Coke contains things like caffeine, sure it keeps you alert to watch a House Hunters marathon, but it might serve a different function. Caffeine is associated with a loss of water and can promote dehydration since it acts as a diuretic. Coke can also contain sodium in the form of sodium phosphate, which also seems unnecessary, and that keeps you thirsty. So now you have a continuous process of becoming dehydrated, then an increase in thirst, and combined with the addictive properties of sugar and caffeine and you've got a product with a nice continuous consumption cycle.
Wrapping It Up
Coke gets picked on the most but that's fair enough when you're the face of Cola and one of the most recognizable brands on Earth. Coke is a drink that is ingrained in culture but hopefully, you can see that it needs to be used sparingly.
Kind of like how Euro Disney should have been.
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