Talk of a “sugar tax” in the US and New York's decision next month to ban sugary drinks in restaurants and theatres to young children has people abuzz about whether it’s an American thing to financially punish people for drinking soda or not. I say go ahead and tax soda, and here are five good reasons why:
1. Soda is one more cause of the climate crisis. We have exported our carbon dioxide addiction all around the world. Just think of the costs in fuel to ship it—and the emissions produced. Maybe if we stop drinking so much of it, the appeal of American sodas will decline elsewhere. And at least in most other countries, the local soda is still made with real sugar!
2. Yeah, yeah, yeah…high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS is only cheaper than sugar because our government subsidizes the toxic, poisonous farming of corn in order to keep chemical companies (and maybe big tractor companies, too) in business. Plus, studies have shown that high-fructose corn syrup has mercury in it. So all those moms who think (incorrectly) that mercury in vaccines causes autism had better not be giving their kids soda!
3. Diet soda causes people to make poor decisions. According to a recent study, people who drink diet sodas think they are getting some energy, but their bodies still feel starved, so they kick into famine mode. Which basically means that the future doesn’t matter, all that matters is getting a next dose of fuel—hence, impulsive, short-term thinking. Amazing.
4. Soda isn’t really thirst quenching anyway. Did you ever really, really pay attention to how your mouth feels when you drink a soda? All that sugar kind of sucks out the liquids from your mouth and leaves a taste that is so icky you have to eat something to get rid of it. So not only are you getting empty calories from your drink, but you are urged to snack, too.
5. Fountain soda has fecal matter in it! It’s been a bad couple of weeks for soda in the news. Another study just this past week found that more than 40 percent of all fountain sodas have traces of fecal matter germs in them. It’s not in the ice, it’s in the soda itself. This was highly disappointing to me personally, since when I do have soda, I really like to have fountain soda with lots of ice in it to water it down and make it somewhat more thirst quenching. Now even that is off limits to me. I look at that cup of Coke with a lid and a straw and think, fecal matter? No thanks.
The only time I really bring soda into my house is when we are sick. There is nothing quite like a real coke or ginger ale to soothe an aching stomach. It’s medicine, really, and frankly, I think it should be treated as such. Think of all the plastic bottles, sugar, and toxic GMO corn we can keep out of the waste stream (and our bodies) if we stop drinking soda routinely.
Thirsty? Buy bottled water instead. YES, bottled water. It’s thirst quenching, has zero calories, and is damn good for you. Of course, you can fill your reusable water bottle with local tap water for free, instead of paying too much for water that’s been shipped and is probably municipal water anyway. And you should. But if you are at a gas station and need something to drink, pass over the soda and don’t feel guilty if a cold bottle of water hits the spot. (Just recycle that bottle.)
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