The Soda Wars

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Is soda (a.k.a. "pop" in the less-civilized [read: non-New Jersey] parts of the country) the crack cocaine of bad eatin', as the Center for Science in the Public Interest charges in its latest anti-soft-drink screed, "Liquid Candy"? Indeed, for the nutrition nannies at CSPI, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, and other sweet carbonated drinks are every bit as dangerous to the health of the nation as "carbonic snow" was to residents of Port Charles. So much so that CSPI is calling for warning labels on every bottle, can, and keg of the stuff.

Soda, especially diet soda, is getting a bad rap, says Elizabeth Whelan of the American Council on Science and Health. She systematically debunks the Coca-Cola canards (e.g., that soda is particularly bad when it comes to causing tooth problems, osteoporosis, and obesity; that diet soda causes cancer; etc.) and then concludes:

The bottom line in pondering soft drinks in the context of good nutrition and health is this: soda is mainly water—and thus a good source of hydration. All of us need calories for energy—the problem is not the calories per se but that many of us consume too many of them. Instead of categorizing foods, such as soft drinks, as "good" or "bad," we need to use common sense and follow the cliche: everything in moderation.

Whole thing here.

Reason's Jacob Sullum poured hot fudge over CSPI's most overblown claims in his excellent story on "The Anti-Pleasure Principle: The 'food police' and the pseudoscience of self-denial." Read it here before going to lunch. See you at the buffet line.

NEXT: "Guess Where I Am"

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  1. I predict that this thread will turn into joe vs. everybody else.

  2. At least give Joe a little bit of credit, even he isn’t so far gone as to defend an idea like that.

  3. You will take my carbonated aspartamed beverage from my cold, dead fingers.

  4. Dr. T:

    how about the over/under when someone posts the “pop vs soda” map again?

  5. Matthew-

    joe might not defend any of the ideas in the original post, but these sorts of topics almost inevitably lead us to find some issue where joe will argue with everybody else.

    For the record, I give joe a lot of credit for coming here. He could spend his time at a liberal echo chamber. Or he could go debate conservatives on a less civil and less intelligent forum, and draw satisfaction from the Neanderthal traits of his opponents. But he comes here, to what I consider a tough, smart, and (for the most part) respectful crowd. I give him mad props.

  6. “soda is mainly water”

    Uh, yeah, and a hit of LSD is mainly paper.

    I’ve never heard of the American Council on Science and Health. Are they one of the Centers for Disease Control? Part of the NSF? Maybe affiliated with a university?

  7. ACSH isn’t claiming that soda is a health food; they’re just saying that it won’t hurt you in moderation.

    (Full disclosure: I am currently drinking my sixth sugary espresso of the day. And if CSPI doesn’t like it they can kiss by overcaffeinated ass.)

  8. Joe, here you go.

    http://www.acsh.org/news/newsid.852/news_detail.asp

    Now, think I’ll go drink a diet mt dew.

    Live free, fight and drink soda.

  9. Uh, that was supposed to be “kiss MY.” But I suppose even the typo-version could work if you view it in the right light.

  10. My personal theory is that it is healthier to drink regular soda, than diet soda.

    Drink up you fat fucks, the soda ain’t going to make a difference. If you want to go on a diet, you might as well drink water. Do you really need that artificial sweetness to be happy?

  11. Is soda really a good source of hydration. I’ve always heard the opposite. I certainly feel dehydrated if I drink soda instead of water over the course of a day.

  12. Kwais, was that inteded with sarcasm?

    I live flavor and water doesn’t have any, ergo, I like my artificial sweetness.

    Out here.

  13. I don’t mean to be anti-American, but you people do seem to be irrationally obssessed with health. Even if Al-qaeda doesn’t get you, you’re going to die of something eventually, so eat, drink, and be cheerful.

  14. i am from nj, we do not call it pop, i have lived here 25 years and never ever heard someone say that, otherwise, an excellent piece

  15. “soda is mainly water — and thus a good source of hydration…the problem is not the calories per se but that many of us consume too many of them”

    Might this suggest a problem with using soda for your hydration? If you have to hydrate yourself, and you shouldn’t consume too many calories, and soda contains a large number of calories…

  16. Is soda really a good source of hydration. I’ve always heard the opposite. I certainly feel dehydrated if I drink soda instead of water over the course of a day.

    I think that’s another one of those “only in moderation” things. I have to drink unusually large amounts of water because of a kidney problem, and sometimes (especially on hot and sweaty days) I can tell that I’ve had too much water and my sugar/electrolyte/whatever balance is off. The ideal thing for me to do in such situations is to eat a handful of honey-roasted nuts, but if for some reason I can’t then I’ll drink a small but sugary soda, and that’ll replenish the sugar levels enough so that I can drink water.

    But I’d imagine that if soda were your exclusive source of liquid then the caffeine would act as a serious diuretic.

  17. Perhaps if joe drank a few Cokes and had a few smokes he wouldn’t be so uptight.

  18. CSPI is right! We drink too much liquid candy! That’s why I switched to coffee–black, no sugar. I’m on my 2nd pot today. Each pot contains 12 cups. It does w-w-w-w-onders f-f-for the m-m-m-ind.

    Kids love it t-t-too!

  19. “i am from nj, we do not call it pop, i have lived here 25 years and never ever heard someone say that”

    With those reading comprehension skills, ray, where else would you be from?

    In the great state of Massachusetts you’ll sometimes hear it called ‘tonic’, by the way.

  20. soda is mainly water — and thus a good source of hydration.

    is this supposed to be a joke? most soda contains caffeine, and caffeine dehydrates you, not the other way around. this woman must know that. and soda is horrible for your teeth, if only because of the ridiculous quantities of sugar it contains.

    i drink about 3 cans of coke and two cups of coffee a day, and i have no problem with continuing, without needing to delude myself into thinking that it’s healthy.

    one thing i can say for sure is that the right amount of soda makes you type a hell of a lot faster, and thus is good for productivity. they should give it out for free in offices.

    and what melissa said.

  21. “In the great state of Massachusetts you’ll sometimes hear it called ‘tonic’, by the way.”

    Apparently, in Tennessee, it’s all coke. Waitress, I’ll have a coke.

    What kind?

    Um, Diet Pepsi.

  22. Mike,
    Are you fat? If not don’t worry about it and drink away. If you are fat but the flavor of the soda is more important to you than losing weight, don’t worry about it and drink away.

    I do seriosly think that sugar free sweetners are counter productive, and I am going to guess that science will one day back me up if it does not now. But really I don’t know what science says about it right now, so it might could just be a superstition of mine.

    Just look at the people who drink diet sodas, and ask yourself if it is really helping them. I think that it is hurting them. You like diet sodas? Do you think they really help you?

  23. We southerners called them ‘cokes’ regardless of whether they were mt dew, coke or (yikes) fanta. At least we did when I was growing up, many years ago. Not so much any more. I say ‘soda’ now–more cultural homogenization, I guess.

  24. “most soda contains caffeine, and caffeine dehydrates you, not the other way around. this woman must know that”

    Soda and tea have long been thought to be diuretics. There is at least one study to indicate this is not the case — that they do not result in a net loss of water in the body.

    http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/19/5/591

  25. Oh, and the BEST ‘coke’ was called “Cheerwine”, a great name in a tee-totalling area. All the sugar and no caffeine. Cherry flavored and wonderful!

  26. a.k.a. “pop” in the less-civilized [read: non-New Jersey] parts of the country

    Go to hell! [drags arms behind me on floor as I walk away in anger]

  27. You will take my carbonated aspartamed beverage from my cold, dead fingers.

    That shouldn’t take too long.

  28. I haven’t had a soda in weeks, but I have an intense craving for one now. Kinda like the way those “Truth” ads always make me reach for my cigarettes. Maybe the nannies should consider trying reverse psychology?

  29. I am going to guess that science will one day back me up

    As opposed to the science we have today which doesn’t back you up.

  30. If soda does not rehydrate you, I died a few years ago and just haven’t noticed it yet.

    I don’t drink anything but soda. It’s a rare day — less than once a week — when any liquid but soda passes my lips. Oh, and coffee, but coffee is more caffeinated than soda.

    My body has this great hydration-regulation mechanism. It’s called ‘thirst’. Based on that highly sensitive hydration test, soda works just fine to keep me water-full.

    Right now I’m on Diet Vanilla Coke 1 of probably 6 I’ll drink today.

    In the larger context of food nannyism: I can envision a world in which everything that might be hazardous is forbidden. Does anyone actually want to live in that world? How long until the anti-food-nannyism backlash begins? Persecution of smokers, you can get away with. There aren’t enough of us to raise much of a ruckus. But look at the numbers on diet soda sales; the nannies, flushed with success re: smoking, are about to take a huge leap forward into new regulatory territory, where they’ll find themselves… all alone.

  31. “they do not result in a net loss of water in the body.”

    The statement about hydradtion made by the redoubtable Ms. Whelan reads, “soda is mainly water — and thus a good source of hydration.”

    To count as a good source of hydration, a substance must do a bit more than “not result in a net loss of water.” If you are relying for your hydration on a beverage that doesn’t effect your hydration one way or the other, or even on a substance that has a slight hydrating effect, you are not going to be adequately hydrated.

  32. Uh, yeah, and a hit of LSD is mainly paper.

    Good one, joe! I’m on your side on this one.

    Drink up you fat fucks, the soda ain’t going to make a difference.

    I’m on the edge of my seat: Is kwais taking going to steal the title of “Most Belligerent Poster on H&R” from Evan Willams? 🙂

    Apparently, in Tennessee, it’s all coke. Waitress, I’ll have a coke.

    joe, it’s true. Everyone South refers to any carbonated beverage as coke. Now that’s backwoods. Yet at the same time charming, in a patronizing sense.

    Now for my real point: aside from the fact that yes, caffeine is a diuretic, caffeinated beverages (read: soda, pop, coffee, tea, what have you) AND sugary beverages are bad for the teeth in another way: they typically serve to exacerbate acid reflux and/or heartburn in many people. And people with bad acid reflux (or bad heartburn) will even experience stomach acid coming up past the esophagus — which will rot your teeth completely out of your mouth, if you’re not careful. I speak from firsthand experience (let me make that clear: I still have all my teeth, but I was diagnosed and treated for acid reflux). So actually in general it is good to avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages, if for no other reason that it is nicer to your digestive tract. And I’m not even going to mention the chemicals in that swill. Also, heavy amounts of sugar are linked to type II diabetes –so drink up, if you’ve always wanted peg legs!

    Ok, now I feel I’ve done my “Good Deed” for the day/week/month/year.

  33. kwais,
    Science already has. They found that mice that drink water sweetened with artificial sweeteners are less able to regulate their eating amounts compared to mice that drink water sweetened with good ol’ fashioned sugar.

    I believe the reason they think this is the case is that sweetness is a triggering mechanism for caloric intake and people/mice that drink artificially sweetened beverages have that barometer thrown off.

  34. So you drank soda even though it gave you acid reflux and you still drank it until a doctor told you? You mean you weren’t smart enough to figure out on your own that maybe the carbonated beverages had something to do with it and cut them out on your won?

    There’s one born every minute.

  35. Diet Pop is for fat people.

  36. Funny you should mention that Jen, I am trying to figure out how to get my hands on a soda right now. I hadn’t even thought of the wierdness of my sudden craving untill you brought it up.

  37. Smacky-
    I read somewhere that in some ways, soda is actually BETTER for your teeth than something like fruit, because when you drink soda the sugar is only in your mouth (and against your teeth) for a few seconds, whereas the fruit requires heavy-duty chewing that brings your teeth in contact with a lot of sugar.

    For the first time, now, I wish I had kids, so that when I saw them eating an apple I could yell at them: “I just spent a fortune on your dental bills! Put down that apple and DRINK A COKE!”

    Or better yet, just brush your teeth after eating. If you can’t do that, chewing sugarless gum will partially clean them until you can give ’em a proper brushing.

  38. i’ve done a bit of reading up on it this morning and i guess i was wrong. caffeine is a diuretic, but its effects are made up for by the fluid that’s in soda. that said, nobody is about to grab a coke from the crowd in the middle of a marathon. and it’s still awfully bad for you.

    it’s surprising that no one has brought up the most positive effect of coke – it does an excellent job of chasing whiskey.

  39. Kwais-
    The editors of this magazine are in the pay of the soda cartels. Sellout bastards.

  40. Oh come on, kwais, we all know you have a pile of coke bottle to crack on Iraqi kids’ heads on the floorboards of your Humvee.

    Jennifer, that argument would be a lot stronger for cane-sugar soda. HFCS is a lot more adhesive.

  41. it’s surprising that no one has brought up the most positive effect of coke –

    …it’s remarkably efficient ability to remove rust from metal?

  42. jc
    did you note Mo’s post vindicating me?

  43. Joe-
    True, I think the study was from England, where they have REAL sugar soda instead of that vile, subsidized, corn-syrup crap. But either way, brushing your teeth offers redemption for a lot of sugary sins.

  44. zach,

    Coke is also very good for cleaning toilets. The acid makes the porcelain shine.

  45. So would caffeine free soft drinks be considered “a good source of hydration?”

  46. joe,
    Good call on the cane sugar soda. When I buy my smokes today, I’m gonna make sure I get me a bottle of Mexican glass bottle Coke. *drools*

    Oh and here’s a A>blog post with an AP article that references the study I spoke of earlier. It was published in the July 04 issue of the International Journal of Obesity for those of you with Nexis access.

  47. joe,
    Good call on the cane sugar soda. When I buy my smokes today, I’m gonna make sure I get me a bottle of Mexican glass bottle Coke. *drools*

    Oh and here’s a blog post with an AP article that references the study I spoke of earlier. It was published in the July 04 issue of the International Journal of Obesity for those of you with Nexis access.

  48. “real” soda, not made in the states? humbug.

    joe & smacky – can rust-free rims and shining porcelain entertain you on a friday night? i don’t think so.

  49. My suspicion is that HFCS is the culprit, at least as far as diabetes goes.

    If so, it seems like there should be tort liability on the part of soft drink companies for discretely displacing sugar with something substantially more poisonous over the years.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the soft drink makers are getting laws passed to shield themselves from future tort scrutiny in this area.

  50. Regardless of the health value of soda pop (or “sweetened carbonated beverage” as it’s sometimes known in geekland), does anybody *really* think that government regulation of the stuff is going to be helpful? The FDA’s new pyramid and food labelling stuff is already a nightmare…

  51. Joe,
    We use corona bottles for that.

    Jen,
    a dentist told me that the kind of sugar and the amount of sugar you consume doesn’t affect your teeth, that what really affects your teeth is how many times you consume sugar. Sugar activates germs or something that act for 20 minutes after you consume something. If you consume 1 lb of sugar or 20 lbs of sugar within those 20 minutes, has the same effect on your teeth.

    But if you consume a half pound of sugar now and a half pound an hour from now is worse than consuming it all at once.

  52. Coke is also very good for cleaning toilets. The acid makes the porcelain shine.

    As a lazy bachelor, I tried this and it didn’t work. I think snopes has it as an urban legend.

  53. Interesting news, Kwais. I hadn’t heard that before.

    On a completely unrelated tangent, I’m going to go brush my teeth now.

  54. joe & smacky – can rust-free rims and shining porcelain entertain you on a friday night? i don’t think so.

    Of course not! There’s hard liquor and illegal drugs for that.

    I’m not advocating government intervention – I’m just trying to do you good people a service here. Go ahead, rot your teeth. I don’t have to make out with you.

    I think kwais is right about the number of times you consume sugar point he made. That sounds like something my dental assistant told me about during a cleaning one time. A funny thing, that plaque.

    And I’d like to add: even though brushing teeth might help remove bad stuff from your mouth, it doesn’t help in the case of acid reflux/heartburn. The harmful acid just rolls up the back of your unsuspecting throat, especially while lying down. Plus, you should look at a lot of the ingredients in many toothpastes – many of them contain sucrose and other sugars!!

  55. In the bad old days there were some girls who believed that coke used in a certain way could prevent conception. I guess that got debunked.

  56. Herman,

    I think it’s supposed to remove mineral deposits, not organic gunk, on the bowl.

  57. I agree with Larry Martin. I don’t understand why Nick would undercut a perfectly good “anti-nanny” post by including the easily-refuted junk science of an industry shill.

    I thought the point of libertarianism was that the government shouldn’t save us from doing bad stuff to ourselves. Why, then, do Reason writers jump so eagerly at every weak assertion that a certain behavior isn’t actually bad for you?

  58. “I guess that got debunked.”

    Dammit I’m going to have to start using condoms again.

    Oh and Smacky,
    I am not a beligerant poster. Don’t say hurtfull things like that.!

  59. Why, then, do Reason writers jump so eagerly at every weak assertion that a certain behavior isn’t actually bad for you?

    To highlight the fact that supposed authorities in this (legislative?) area do not understand and respect the limits of their own knowledge.

  60. joe-
    Well then Heloise needs to be clear that even Coke lacks the power to fight mildew.

    BTW, no specific snopes entry on Coke and toilets.

    I treat Coke as an occasional use drug like alcohol. Saying it is a good source of hydration is like the “Beer, Breakfast of Champions” shirt. Neither beer nor Coke should have warnings.

  61. Check out the link. It’s POISON!!! It’s POISON!!!

  62. Coke is also very good for cleaning toilets. The acid makes the porcelain shine.

    That would be the old Coke recipe, the one where they used citric acid and cane suger, not the new one with corn syrup and phosphoric acid.

    It actually works better than you think.

  63. I view it like this — I drink a TON of coke. Like a liter or more a day, on average.

    That is a LOT of sugar per day, so I switched to diet. I don’t know how much of a difference “regular” versus “diet” makes if you drink 20 ounces a day, but when you’re drinking as much as I do — it’s a couple thousand calories you’re not getting.

    It may not be as healthy as switching to water — but I’m trying to be HEALTHIER (and lose some weight) not be the healtheist and unhappiest guy on the planet.

    So far, so good — I’m losing about a pound every two weeks just from that.

  64. Herman,

    Did you just call me Heloise? Or is this not about me?

    kwais,

    No harm intended. I find belligerency charming at times, anyway, if done properly.

  65. Our local TV stations are awash with propaganda from the state dentists’ association warning against the constant sipping of soda. Sip all day, you’ll get decay has been burned into my brain, along with It’s not just the sugar, it’s the acid. The dentists recommend using a straw, to cut down on the acid/tooth contact, and at least rinsing your mouth with water after finishing even a diet soda. ISTM that this would also be a problem with juice, even if carbonation might make soda a bit more aggressive.

    Note that the dentists are a private organization, and that by warning us against the perils of swilling phosphates at will they are depriving themselves of future business. They do stress that it is OK to drink the stuff in moderation. There have been no calls to outlaw 12-packs or 2-liter bottles.

    I’m making a pot of tea for now, and I’ll probably mix up some diet lemonade* for later. Unfortunately, what I’m really jonesing for is a chocolate egg creme. I lived for those when I was a kid.

    As for our gravitationally enhanced citizens who enjoy a diet soda, keep in mind that many of them are diagnosed diabetics, and pretty much have to drink diet pop, or none at all. Does anyone else remember when the stuff wasn’t called “diet” but “dietetic”?

    Kevin

    *Crystal Light, generic, Wylers – whatever is on sale.

  66. Ray,

    The point of my poorly-worded sentence was precisely that it is called soday in NJ–only less-civilized places call it pop. Now if you want to engage in the great Hoagie v. Sub debate, let the fighting begin.

    Joe,

    ACSH gets money from “industry.” CSPI gets money from lawyers and other cretins. I find the argument ad funderam less than compelling except in cases where results have been fixed at the behest of funders.

    And Whelan is saying soda is good for you. Just that it’s not bad in moderation.

  67. To highlight the fact that supposed authorities in this (legislative?) area do not understand and respect the limits of their own knowledge.

    i do agree with joe on this point. by focusing on weak evidence that a certain thing isn’t really that bad after all, it makes it seem as if the Reason argument is, “see, it’s not so bad, so leave it alone”; when in reality, the argument is, “it doesn’t matter if it’s bad or not, it’s none of your business, so leave it alone.”

    the end result is we get people debating whether or not the thing is bad, which was never the point.

  68. maybe someone else has pointed this out, or maybe it’s just my problem, but, is anyone else’s right margin guide way out of wack? It’s not resizing with the screen.

  69. focusing on weak evidence that a certain thing isn’t really that bad after all, it makes it seem as if the Reason argument is, “see, it’s not so bad, so leave it alone”

    I think the Reason argument is more fairly stated as: we don’t really know if this stuff is bad or not, the evidence is mixed, and this uncertainty means that decisionmaking should remain decentralized in some areas primarily because sufficient uncertainty exists.

    “Weak assertions” may be weak as far as scientifically proving what they purport, and yet can still be strong as far as meeting the lesser burden of showing uncertainty and reasonable-ppl-can-differ and other forms of healthy agnosticism.

  70. let me just say for the record:

    1. there is no such thing as “pop”, it’s called soda;
    2. there’s no such thing as a “sub”, it’s called a hoagie;
    3. there’s no such thing as “italian ice”, it’s called water ice;
    4. there’s no such thing as “the beach”, it’s called the shore; and
    5. there’s no such thing as a major sports championship.

  71. “And Whelan is saying soda is good for you. Just that it’s not bad in moderation.”

    From the quote:

    “soda is mainly water — and thus a good source of hydration. All of us need calories for energy”

    So, like most pr flacks, she talks out of both sides of her mouth.

    As far as the reliability of the two groups goes, a few misleading or flat out wrong assertions from the Exxon/Coca Cola group spokesperson have been pointed out in this thread. Please refer us to the misleading and flat out wrong statements in the CSPI news release.

  72. Is it just me, or does anyone else hear the voice of the corporate pr lady from The Simpsons whenever you read a quote from a pr flack?

  73. dave w, now that’s an argument i can get behind. it just doesn’t seem to be presented that way here. maybe it’s just the way i’m reading it.

  74. how about the over/under when someone posts the “pop vs soda” map again?

    Pop vs. Soda vs. Coke

  75. water ice

    Water ice? That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.

  76. Dave, the problem is, the spokesbot doesn’t refute any of the statements in the release she’s trying to debunk. She either attacks a strawman (were the CSPI people against moderation?), or she makes demonstrably false statements (“soda is a good source of hydration.”)

    We do know whether the stuff is bad or not, the evidence it not mixed, and uncertainty about that does not exist – and nothing in the spokesbot’s verbal program manages to knock those facts down. So while that yours may well be a more accurate statement of Reason’s argument, linking to ACSH isn’t a very good way to support that argument.

  77. Y’know what’s to blame for soda made with corn sweetener, don’t you? The anti-Castro embargo, and the sugar price support program. Companies like ADM make a fortune turning out the inferior stuff, because U.S. companies can’t buy cane sugar at the world price, so they switched to the inferior input.

    See, it’s all the dadburned gubbmint’s fault!

    Kevin

  78. I’m not bad! I swear!

  79. Nick, “I find the argument ad funderam less than compelling except in cases where results have been fixed at the behest of funders.”

    Yes, and I find the “argument ad bureaucratium” less than compelling. Perhaps this might have something to do with where we sit?

    Me, being a bureaucrat, and the Reason Foundation being…um…less reliant on bake sales to meet its expenses that one might assume.

  80. smacky, quite possibly. but that’s what it’s called, dammit.

  81. Durn right, kevrob.

    Ditto with supports for grains and the overabundance of carbs.

  82. Smacky, “water ice” isn’t stupid. It’s a truth in labeling issue. When the product is labled “water ice,” the customer can be assured he’s not getting something else, like, oh, I don’t know… “urine ice.”

  83. she makes demonstrably false statements (“soda is a good source of hydration.”)

    Certainly water and Gatorade are better sources of hydration than soda (more hydration per mL consumed).

    But is her statement really false? Seems to me her statement is more useless than false as she doesn’t really define what good is. Drinking soda is better than drinking nothing at all for example. If that’s what you define as good…

    Not sure what the metric for hydration is. I suppose I could google it and find out.

  84. that’s true soda, except that that’s not what people generally define as “good”, and she ought to (and i’m willing to bet, does) know that.

  85. that’s true soda, except that that’s not what people generally define as “good”, and she ought to (and i’m willing to bet, does) know that.

    I buy that.

  86. We do know whether the stuff is bad or not, the evidence it not mixed, and uncertainty about that does not exist

    You are quite convincing re the spokesbot — her weak assertions are too weak even for me.

    A nice big study comparing sucrose soda to HFCS soda to diet soda to water. Now that is what I would like to see. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if sucrose soda outperformed them all, including the water. There is still plenty of uncertainty here. I wouldn’t be surprised if HFCS is responsible for all the diabetes, statistically speaking. Of course, these are just suspicions. More fundamentally, I acknowledge real uncertainty here, as we all should.

    My problem is that traditional product liability torts would provide some accountability on the part of large soft drink mfgrs to explore this uncertainty in a timely and economically efficient way.

    Instead, we are: (1) removing the traditional liability; and (2) having the legislature explore the “uncertainty”* in place of liability-conscious suppliers of soda.

    FOOTNOTE:

    * Sadly, legislators never seem to be agnostic about anything (except maybe J. Kerry and then only when campaigning). This makes them a bad bunch to explore an area of uncertainty in intellectual good faith.

  87. Joe-
    CSPI is against soda, period. No moderation involved. Just like those anti-alcohol nuts who see no difference between drinking a single beer and drinking until you pass out night after night, or drug warriors who insist that all drug USE is actually drug ABUSE.

    (I myself am guilty of emotional drug abuse–before I smoke a bowl I scream at it, “You’re the most stupid, worthless, ugly buds I’ve ever seen and I wish you were never born!”)

  88. You know who I feel sorry for? People like joe, who live in places without decent Mexican markets & restaurants. Life without decent tacos would be horrible enough, but how can you live without real, glass-bottle sugary Coke once in while?

  89. Maybe this is a function of living in a college town and spending most of my time with University students, but everyone I’ve ever met who called soda “poison” tended to have alcohol problems. I’ve actually had a girl who was drunk out of her mind tell me “that soda is terrible for you” when I was designated driver. I recall thinking to myself “yeah, next time I’ll drink 12 shots of tequila in two and a half hours. That sounds like a good health decision…”

  90. zach,

    Yo.

  91. In Ontario, Canada, the soda generally say “sucrose and/or fructose.” Very frustrating. Even more frustrating than walking out of Taqueria San Jose #2 at 24th & Mission and realizing that you forgot to have them open the bottle.

  92. ” Water ice? That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.”

    Lots of runner ups in that same post too.

  93. Dave,

    actually, both American and Mexican Coke say “sugar and/or HFCS.” It’s up each bottler to use whatever they want, ie, whatever’s cheaper. In the US, that’s corn syrup.

  94. When it comes to hydration, you should just stick with the bubbler.

  95. All of us need calories for energy — the problem is not the calories per se but that many of us consume too many of them. Instead of categorizing foods, such as soft drinks, as “good” or “bad,” we need to use common sense and follow the cliche: everything in moderation.

    She is right and she is wrong. She’s right when she says that we should follow the cliche, everything in moderation. Hell, we all need a certain amount of arsenic in our systems, but too much will kill ya. The fact of the matter is, it’s just as easy to go to the store, buy a bag of sugar, and eat it by the handful. The sugar content, along with all other nutritional information, is listed on the side of the can. I’m sorry, but we don’t need a government scold message on the packaging for anything that MIGHT contribute to poor health. Hell, boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of the best things for you, in terms of lean protein. However, if you were to eat 15 of them per day, it might not be too healthy. The fact is, soda doesn’t cause anything: the act of drinking TOO MUCH soda is what causes problems.

    However, she’s wrong when she infers that all calories are created equal. If I take in 3000 fat calories in a day, it’s not quite the same as taking in 3000 protein calories, or 3000 simple carbohydrate calories. A calorie is NOT just a calorie, and, the fact of the matter is, simple carbohydrate calories, combined with the insulin spike from the sugar, isn’t that good for you. Not that I’m anti-soda or nothin’, just pointing out her obvious misunderstanding of basic nutrition.

    Again, it’s not about which products are “good” or “bad”, it’s about your aggregate nutritional & physical lifestyles. This is where scolds like CSPI are most foolish. They like to place blame on certain scapegoats, like bigass double cheeseburgers or sugary sodas…but anyone who knows a thing about nutrition knows that that is just rediculous.

  96. You caught me. I was trying to sweep a bit of complexity under the rug. In Lemon Grove, Mexicola in glass that said “suc or fruc” meant “suc.”

    My experience in Canada, where the bottles are not typically glass or otherwise imported-from-a-foreign-country-looking, is that “suc or fruc” really means “suc or fruc.”

    Anyway, matters little now. I am on cranberry and pomegranate juices for reasons to unpleasant to go into.

  97. yo phocion. looking forward to a glorious loss tonight to start off the second half of the season.

    kwais, you can just go to hell.

  98. Evan,

    I gotta disagree with the comparison between skinless chicken breasts and soda. Eating a skinless chicken breast is actually good for you. Drinking a single can of soda doesn’t do anything good for you.

    The term “moderation” is favored by the people who make unhealthy foods, because it conflates two different ideas. 1) Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, so don’t eat too much. 2) You can minimize the damage caused by doing something unhealthy by only doing a little of it.

  99. kwais, you can just go to hell.

    He’s already in Iraq. Hell would be an improvement.

  100. The Mexicans are making their way toward Joe. He will soon be wondering how he got along without a decent taco stand.

  101. The term “moderation” is favored by the people who make unhealthy foods, because it conflates two different ideas. 1) Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, so don’t eat too much. 2) You can minimize the damage caused by doing something unhealthy by only doing a little of it.

    so what’s wrong with that?

  102. Drinking a single can of soda doesn’t do anything good for you. The term “moderation” is favored by the people who make unhealthy foods, because it conflates two different ideas. 1) Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, so don’t eat too much. 2) You can minimize the damage caused by doing something unhealthy by only doing a little of it.

    Are you saying that drinking a single can of soda is unhealthy? That’s what it sounds like.

  103. I’m eating a burrito right now. Decent Mexican food is actually pretty easy to come by in the urban areas of the NE.

    I just pity those of you who don’t have any southeast Asian people in your area.

  104. Yes, Jennifer, drinking a single can of soda is unhealthy. It’s only a little bit unhealthy, but it isn’t doing your body any good, and isn’t even just neutral. Sort of like smoking one cigarette per day.

    zach, what’s wrong with that is that she tries to leverage the conflation backwards, into an argument that soda is actually healthy in moderation, and does good things for your body.

  105. In Toronto it all seems to be central Mexican. Stewed peppers and mole sauce. Good as far as it goes, but we need a Zona Rosa doubleplusbad.

  106. Smacky-
    It’s not about you. I won’t call you Heloise unless that is either your real name or you ask me to.

    The receptionist at my old office forwarded me the Coke-toilet thing and I remember it being from Heloise of syndicated housekeeping lore. The writing just said “Coke will help clean toilets” not “it will break up mineral deposits but not mold.”

  107. In Boston’s defense, Anna’s Taqueria is great Mexican food in Boston. It was the only way I was able to survive for 4 years out there. Me, the other Californians and the Texans all but lived there. If you go there joe, I recommend the carnitas or carne asada super burrito.

    Of course, it still doesn’t hold a candle to Los Sanchez in Anaheim or Tito’s Tacos in LA.

  108. Decent Mexican food is actually pretty easy to come by in the urban areas of the NE

    That is demonstrably false. Unless your idea of decent Mexican food is Taco Bell. I searched high and low for one when I was in Boston until I found Anna’s.

  109. Yes, Jennifer, drinking a single can of soda is unhealthy

    How so? Assuming you’re a normal, healthy person (as opposed to a diabetic or something), what health problems will you get from drinking a single can of soda?

  110. We all have a unique definition of decent Mexican food.

  111. What is a “sub” or “hoagie”? I only eat “hero’s”

  112. Dave W.,
    Load up on creatine and take 4 asprin 4 hrs beforehand. I came out ok!

  113. “Decent Mexican food is actually pretty easy to come by in the urban areas of the NE.”

    yeah, and they make all the pizza in new york too. mostly good.

    every six months or so i get a mountain dew craving. i drink 2 liters and am done with it until the next solstice. don’t know why.

  114. How so? Assuming you’re a normal, healthy person (as opposed to a diabetic or something), what health problems will you get from drinking a single can of soda?

    good point.

  115. Joe,

    “Health” is typically about the long term aggregate diet and nutritional regimes. Drinking a 12oz can of soda every day is not going to make you unhealthy, in and of itself. It just depends on what you eat, over the course of time, and how much you exercise. There is no long-term damage from drinking a single can of soda.

    I’m talking about moderation, and no, moderation is not just a buzzword. That’s absurd.

  116. Jennifer, it will spike your blood sugar and promote the growth of plaque on your teeth.

  117. Joe-
    Plaque on your teeth isn’t a problem if you have a toothbrush and know how to use it. And is a temporary spike in blood sugar necessarily a bad thing? Seriously–are there non-diabetics who drink one or two cans of soda each week and die early because of their blood-sugar spikes.

    By the way, doesn’t eating–anything–also cause a spike in blood sugar? And contribute to plaque? I believe they do, yet eating is not inherently unhealthy.

  118. Evan, I made two points in my post, and you flubbed them both. First, I acknowledged that a minimal amount of an unhealthy substance will do only a minimal amount of damage. My point was just to distinguish this from a situation in which you consume a substance that doesn’t do any damage at all.

    And I never called moderation a buzzword.

  119. Jennifer,

    Joe is talking about it in absolute terms. His problem is that he is failing to look at it in the context of a broader nutritional regime. A soda is “worse” for you, in absolute nutritional terms, than a glass of skim milk…but that doesn’t mean that 1 can of soda is necessarily “bad” for your long term health.

    Absolute nutritional facts mean nothing on their own. You can’t look at things in a vacuum. You have to look at them in the context of your diet, your long-term health, and your aggregate nutritional intake.

    Joe is operating in different logical terms than you and I, which is where the disconnect is arising from.

  120. “Absolute nutritional facts mean nothing on their own. You can’t look at things in a vacuum. You have to look at them in the context of your diet, your long-term health, and your aggregate nutritional intake.”

    That’s correct. You can include unhealthy things in your diet, and still have a healthy diet. But that doesn’t make the soda, snack crisps, and daily cigarette healthy.

  121. joe, jennifer’s point is that your blood sugar will go back down without anything bad having happened, and the amount of plaque a can of coke can create won’t cause a cavity. something is only unhealthy if it creates an actual health problem.

  122. That is demonstrably false. Unless your idea of decent Mexican food is Taco Bell. I searched high and low for one when I was in Boston until I found Anna’s

    Whoa, hold it there, Mo. Haven’t you been to El Pelon. It’s yummy! Near Fenway in Peterborough St.

    Anna’s is good too. You should also go to Zocalo in Arlington.

    The hijack is over. Back to the soda discussion…

  123. Thank you, Zach, for summing up my points. Joe, care to comment?

  124. That’s correct. You can include unhealthy things in your diet, and still have a healthy diet. But that doesn’t make the soda, snack crisps, and daily cigarette healthy.

    true, but you said specifically that a single coke was unhealthy.

  125. Joe,

    I didn’t “flub” anything. I addressed your points indirectly. Secondly, you put “moderation” in scare quotes, and claimed that it is a “favorite” term of food makers because it “conflates two ideas”. Excuse me if I saw that as suggesting the term “buzzword”. Thirdly, you keep using terms like “unhealthy”, but you refrain from explaining that term in context. I assert that there are no unhealthy foods, only unhealthy diets. It is your complete aggregate daily caloric makeup, regardless of what the specific foods comprise it, that matters…along with exercise. Thus, there are no inherently unhealthy foods. The “damage” you speak of has to do with the aggregate caloric intake, not with one specific foodstuff.

  126. “That’s correct. You can include unhealthy things in your diet, and still have a healthy diet. But that doesn’t make the soda, snack crisps, and daily cigarette healthy.”

    In what context are you defining them as “unhealthy”, Joe? What makes something inherently, absolutely, “unhealthy”? Try getting through the day without any one of the macronutrients found in a can of Coca Cola. Good luck. Now THAT is unhealthy. Again, individual foodstuffs are not inherently unhealthy (unless there is no safe level of ingestion, which would pretty much disqualify them as foodstuffs). It is the aggregate caloric intake, taking into account quantity AND quality.

    You say these foods are “unhealthy”, but you fail to define that term in any meaningful context.

  127. Joe – you must be a transplant to the Northeast because I have only heard “bubbler” used in the Milwaukee area. The big danger there is ordering a whiskey and getting brandy instead.

    In New York they call it “pop”. Soda is carbonated water (or “seltzer” for Moses’minions).

    Soft drinks are for mixing with booze. I prefer the diet variety. I toured a sugar mill and did not like the looks of the liquid extract they use for sweetening sodas. It did not look anywhere nearly as pure as the crystallized sugar.

    I object to another mindless call for more warning labels. If those people want to improve their community, then they should leave it immediately.

  128. Evan, I didn’t mean the quotes around “moderation” to be scare quotes, but to attribute them.

    “something is only unhealthy if it creates an actual health problem.”

    I’d say that the plaque is unhealthy, that’s why you have to brush it off your teeth. The fact that you can mitigate, or even completely alleviate, the damage doesn’t change the fact that it is damaging, or potentially so.

    This is where we get into semantics. Is a guy driving 100 mph dangerous, if he gets pulled over before he hits anyone?

    I suppose you could say, “Drinking a Coke then brushing your teeth is healthy,” just as you could say, “Drinking a Coke is bad for your teeth, so you need to brush them.” Semantics.

    As for the blood sugar thing, simple sugars enter your blood stream very quickly, resulting in high levels, which causes an insulin reaction. The foods we evolved to eat, such as complex carbohydrates that are partially trapped within fiberour pods that need to be digested before the carbs can get out, release sugar into your bloodstream at a slower rate. It never gets too high, so only so much insulin is released at any one time. And, the sugars keep getting relased over a longer period of time, so you aren’t left with “excess” insulin and a low blood sugar. Since all the sugar from the Coke enters your bloodstream quickly, you end up with a big burst of insulin to remove it, enough to handle the peak of the peak. But your sugar levels drop off that peak very quickly, because there isn’t any “bound” sugar to be released, as your body is expecting. What you end up with is low blood sugar. The high level at the peak, the low level that comes later, and the quick, extreme fluctuation are all bad for you.

  129. everyone I’ve ever met who called soda “poison” tended to have alcohol problems.

    *cough*. What? Stop looking at me.

    something is only unhealthy if it creates an actual health problem.

    zach,

    That is a falsity. People who develop esophagal cancer, lung cancer, Type II diabetes (the list could go on) don’t just wake up one morning “unhealthy” or wake up with some disease that just decided to drop in and take over their body. Habits play a large part in what state of health you’ll be in later in life. The human body can only take so much wear and tear. Soda/pop/coke/cola/whathaveyou and it’s modern ingredients are largely not “natural food” – meaning could be found in nature, but more likely than not contain at least some questionable chemicals that are not found in natural human foods (read: unprocessed).

    every six months or so i get a mountain dew craving. i drink 2 liters and am done with it until the next solstice. don’t know why.

    dhex,

    I can explain. You are what is known as a “mountain dew werewolf”. simple enough.

  130. “Soft drinks are for mixing with booze. I prefer the diet variety.”

    Mmm-hmm. Bacardi and Diet Cola. No carbs, no sug’. Now who’s ready to party?

  131. What makes something inherently, absolutely, “unhealthy”?

    (unless there is no safe level of ingestion, which would pretty much disqualify them as foodstuffs)

    I know foods which would disqualify as “absolutely unhealthy”: anything containing non-natural, tumor-inducing preservatives. Do we need a set amount of sodium benzoate each day? Methinks not. Phenylalanine? Eh, no, I don’t think that’s very delectable.

    You can’t say I didn’t answer your question. There are *toxic* chemicals, which are *proven* to cause harm to humans, put in all sorts of human foods. Don’t ask me for links, we’re all familiar with Google, and I’m at work.

    Aside: Do we really need flouride in toothpaste?

  132. Smacky–
    Fluoride is indeed useful in preventing tooth decay. A few months ago I went to the dentist for the first time in about nine years, and despite a diet consisting almost exclusively of over-sugared coffee, honey-roasted cashews, chocolate, cheese sauce, rare steaks and one serving of vegetables per month, I only had two cavities, thanks to my vigorous brush-after-every-meal routine. Viva fluoride!

  133. Aren’t there carbs in the rum?

  134. OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!

    joe used the word “bubbler”!!!!!!!!!!!

    I only hear that word when I’m in Milwaukee. Even in Santa Barbara, which (strangely enough) has a large Milwaukee exodus, I never heard the word “bubbler”.

    joe, you MUST be a transplant. Either that or your parents are.

    Or else joe has just broken his cover and revealed that he isn’t really a planner in Boston, he’s actually some guy in Milwaukee. Ah, the fun of the identity hunt begins again! 😉

  135. I’m from Maine, and we don’t eat “hoagies” or “subs” or “grinders.” We eat Italians. Swear to god, there’s a sign on a gas station in my town that says “Three Large Italians $7.99”

    I drink diet soda (diet coke, to be precise) because it’s less sweet than regular coke (I prefer the taste of diet, I know, I’m crazy) and because I drink several cans a day and don’t need the extra 600 calories. I actually lost 50lbs in a 3-month period by waking up at 2pm every day and consuming almost nothing but diet sprite. Diet soda is actually a fairly good weight-loss aid because the carbonation takes up more space in your stomache, so you’re less hungry. So saith my dad, who’s a doctor.

    -sam

  136. The word “bubbler” has a very different meaning in most of the northeast…

  137. smacky,

    Habits play a large part in what state of health you’ll be in later in life. The human body can only take so much wear and tear.

    of course. the point is we’re talking about a single can of soda, not a habit.

  138. mtm,

    I don’t know about joe but I was born and raised in the Bay State and I grew up drinking from bubblers, not water fountains.

  139. The word “bubbler” has a very different meaning in most of the northeast…

    doh!!!

  140. Sorry kwais, but the study Mo alludes to didn’t prove a damn thing. And it only involved saccharin. Just because B followed A does not mean A caused B.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1167611/posts

    smacky, you sounded like you knew you had heartburn and went to the doctor as your first resort instead of trying to change your diet first. Sorry if I misinterpreted. Severe heartburn/reflux requires more diligence on food intake than mild heartburn. But the foods that cause such problems differ from person to person.

  141. A great summer drink: The Pink Goddam!

    That’s gin, Wink*, and marischino cherries. The authentic way to make it is to buy a brand new garbage can, and fill it with booze, grapefruit soda, entire bottles of fruit (syrup included), cutting it all with crushed ice. Serves as many sorority sisters as you can find.

    Crushinator:

    I have never had a problem ordering whiskey or even whisky in M’waukee. What is dangerous is telling the barkeep that you’d like a Manhattan, without specifying that you’d like that made with rye, because the Brandy Manhattan is the default drink in `Sconsin.

    As a Brooklynite born and a Lawn Islander raised, we always said “soda”, or sometimes “soda pop”, but “pop” only ever came out of the mouths of the Upstate Cousins. They also drank “waht-er”, instead of “wawt’r”.

    Kevin

    * The sassy one, from Canada Dry! Squirt will do in a pinch. Using Fresca is just silly, unless you use fruit packed in dietetic syrup!

  142. joe,

    I’d say that the plaque is unhealthy, that’s why you have to brush it off your teeth. The fact that you can mitigate, or even completely alleviate, the damage doesn’t change the fact that it is damaging, or potentially so.

    the same way we’re assuming the person in question isn’t a diabetic, we’re assuming the person in question brushes their teeth somewhat regularly. i don’t see any problem with that, since that includes most people in america.

    This is where we get into semantics. Is a guy driving 100 mph dangerous, if he gets pulled over before he hits anyone?

    well this entire conversation has been semantics from the beginning. i already agree with you that drinking a lot of soda daily is unhealthy, because it presents the risk of health problems; the same way that driving a car at 100mph is dangerous, because it presents the risk of injury. however, a single can of soda presents no legitimate risk of health problems for a normal human body, and thus is not unhealthy.

  143. Soft drinks are for mixing with booze. I prefer the diet variety

    On a related note, I wish more restaurants and bars would carry diet 7-up (or diet sprite). I hate having cola or lemonade as my only low-cal choices. I usually wind up getting water which not only keeps the bill lower, but has the added attraction of keeping the tip down if I go with the 20%-of-the-bill concept rather than the time-and-effort metric.

  144. Kevrob- you are absolutely correct about the default brandy Manhatten in MKE. I also encountered the whiskey/brandy issue when ordering a whiskey sour there (another favorite drink in Blatztown).

    We used the term “pop” in my hometown of Buffalo. Nobody had the courage to drink water there. Lake Erie looked like an oily septic tank when I was kid.

    Smokey – is the bubbler you mentioned possibly used for the consumption of interstate commerce?

  145. zach, if it poses no health problems, why do you have to brush your teeth afterwards to avoid tooth decay?

  146. Crush – what part of Lake Erie?

    was at lake ontario two weeks ago. right in that big park on the north side of rochester, right by the genesee river. there was a green slime on the shore. ugh. never saw that on LE. it was nearly as gross as the alewife mass die-off in chicago about 20 years ago…

  147. I’m waiting for joe to clarify his usage of the word “bubbler”!!!!!

  148. Aw, man what was I JUST saying? Just now…

  149. Thoreau:

    I went to school with a Masshole who used the term “bubblah”. He had never been west of the NY-PA border. And acted it.

    He was from some burb. Cohasset? is there such a place. I think he was from there.

  150. joe… again, it presents no health problems because you brush your teeth afterwards, the same way it presents no health problems because you’re not diabetic. obviously, if you’re never going to brush your teeth, then all food is unhealthy. the thing is, we can talk about food’s effects without needing to specify that you should brush your teeth afterwards, or that you can’t be allergic to the food in question. or that you shouldn’t eat the food while balancing on a tightrope 200 feet above a pit of nails. or can we?

    joe, don’t drink your soda while balancing on a tightrope 200 feet above a pit of nails.

  151. drf- The shoreline from Dunkirk north to Blackrock was ugly. I remember the dead fish (mostly coho salmon) piled up as high as snow drifts in the mid fifties when the lake died. The tree-hugging environmentalist wackos actually do have some valid concerns.

    Water was eschewed in favor of Genessee, Simon Pure, Carlings, Molson, and Labbatts. I believe the consumption of these brews would have remained high in Buffalo even if the water supply were pristine.

  152. Thanks!

    and your handle is fantastic. Cartoon Network evenings is great with Family guy-Futurama back-to-back. 🙂

    cheers,
    drf

  153. “Three Large Italians $7.99”

    I could go for that! Uh, huh!

  154. Crushinator,
    Yes – most of the time, it’s FULL of interstate commerce.

  155. if it poses no health problems, why do you have to brush your teeth afterwards to avoid tooth decay?

    So you’re saying that if I eat the right foods, I can forgo toothbrushing AND cavities? Do tell.

  156. Actually, Jennifer, you probably could, on an all-raw-veggies diet.

    “joe, don’t drink your soda while balancing on a tightrope 200 feet above a pit of nails.” Good advice. I’ll have remember that.

    Still, I don’t think brushing your teeth is equivalent to not being diabetic, or allergic.

  157. joe, it is in the sense that jennifer was talking about your average american, and your average american brushes their teeth, the same way your average american is not diabetic, and does not eath whilst balanced on a tightrope 200 feet above a bed of nails.

  158. so to the average american, a single can of soda is not unhealthy.

    jeeze.

  159. Actually, Jennifer, you probably could, on an all-raw-veggies diet.

    Of course, you’d be vitamin deficient…

  160. Since the first English-speaking settlers of Wisconsin were mostly folks who migrated west via the Erie Canal/Great Lakes route, they were predominantly from New England and New York State – Yankees and Yorkers. I don’t have a Dictionary of American Regional English handy, or I’d confirm “bubbler”‘s etymology. I would imagine that the use of the word in the Badger State has its origin Back East.

    Kevin

  161. It never ceases to amaze me that aspartame gets such a bad rap: aspartame is phenylalanine aspartate methyl-esther. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are both amino acids present in every cell in your body. Aspartame is quickly metabolized into them and methanol (admittedly a toxic compound). However, methanol is only toxic in large doses, and you get a dose of it in almost all food. I’ve had people tell me in all seriousness that diet soda is worse for me than regular because it contains aspartame. The mind boggles.

  162. Aw, man what was I JUST saying? Just now…

    I take it to mean that joe’s bubblers are used to imbibe a substance that affects short term memory, while in Milwaukee a bubbler just dispenses water without any interstate commerce in it.

  163. I hope I’m not the only one here old enough to remember this song about the relative harmlessness of soda:

    Go For Soda – Kim Mitchell

    So we’re in one of our blue moods
    You wanna have it your way and I want it mine
    All this debating going ’round in our blue mood
    Makes me thirsty for love

    Might as well go for a soda…
    Nobody hurts and nobody cries
    Might as well go for a soda…
    Nobody drowns and nobody dies

    Life seems to be a bomb inside your head
    Well, the bomb in my head is love
    All this debating going ’round in our blue mood
    Makes me thirsty for love

    Might as well go for a soda…
    Nobody hurts and nobody cries
    Might as well go for a soda…
    Nobody drowns and nobody dies
    Might as well go for a soda…
    It’s better than slander, it’s better than lies
    Might as well go for a soda…
    Nobody hurts and nobody cries

    (Sample available here.)

    Heck, there’s even kind of a libertarian connection, via a connection to Max Webster, who had a connection to Rush.

  164. Evan,

    Earlier in the thread you claimed that not all calories are created equally, which implies that some calories are better than others. I find this interesting, since I thought that a calorie was just a measure of energy, and the form of the calorie didn’t matter. There are differences in caloric content of food per unit mass, so a gram of sugar contains more calories than a gram of carbs, which contain more calories than a gram of fat and protein. (Or something like that.)

    But I thought that if you consumed a 3000 calorie per day diet, it didn’t matter if you got there from eating a relatively low mass of sugar or a relatively higher mass of protein. You still have the 3000 calories to burn, and what you don’t burn gets converted to fat in your body.

    But now, I have just confused myself, because there is still this thing called conservation of mass in chemical reactions, so maybe the form of calorie does matter. So if you get your 3000 calories by eating an entire one-pound bad of Oreos, the most weight you can possible gain is one pound (setting aside the difference between mass and weight).

    Maybe the lo-carb dieters are correct that calories from fats and proteins are better than calories from carbs and sugars.

    I am confused and need a beer.

  165. mac daddy hoon, like you just said, a calorie is a unit of energy, and thus has no “form”. what evan williams was saying is that the various forms in which one may receive his calories are not created equal.

  166. so to the average american, a single can of soda is not unhealthy.

    Diet Pepsi (8 fl. oz)

    Contains: Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), caffeine, citric acid and natural flavors

    MMmmm…potassium benzoate! What are those natural flavors again? Hm, why aren’t they listed?

  167. Oooh! I just had to be comment #169.

    I was #69 and #123 on the Manly Men thread, too. And I even posted at 4:20 once.

    I have a serious H&R addiction I need to attend to and clinically treat.

  168. Is soda (a.k.a. “pop” in the less-civilized [read: non-New Jersey] parts of the country)

    Nick, you’re a great guy, an entertaining and thoughtful writer, but I just have to say that any state (NJ) that regulates single-shot pneumatic air pistols more heavily than Colorado regulates AR15 rifles is most emphatically not civilized.

    :-p

    Jersey. I spent a couple years there one summer.

    Oh, and CSPI are hereby officially and cordially invited to munch my taint.

  169. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: When they come up with an “artifical” sweetener that doesn’t taste like I’m sucking on a kid’s chemistry set, THEN I’ll start drinking diet sodas. Otherwise, I’m more than willing to pay the dentist to fill the occasional cavity if it means I can actually enjoy what I’m drinking.

  170. I thought the point of libertarianism was that the government shouldn’t save us from doing bad stuff to ourselves.

    Too true. *sips an iced tea*

  171. Now if we can only get mainstream liberalism away from the whole “uptight scolds out to save us from outselves” thing…

    …Heh-heh, sorry. I blame Joe’s bubbler.

  172. Mac Daddy Hoon: good links to the differences among fats, simple and complex carbs, and proteins here.

    Oh, and I’d like to compliment Thoreau on his prescience. We should just hire you to do our commenting for us, and then we can go back to getting actual work done.

  173. Joe,

    I’m glad I read your comments. I’m going to start eating only ripe plums and leafy vegetables without ever brushing my teeth. I’m sure I’ll have zero cavities and minty breath in no time. Thanks for the tip.

  174. thoreau:

    The water in a M’waukee bubbler may be controlled by a power even more awesome than that of the interstate commerce clause – the treaty power! All the water in the Great Lakes is subject to a treaty between the U.S. and Canada. No water utility may draw H2O from one of the lakes to supply systems outside the area that drains into the lakes, known as the Great Lakes Basin.

    For spring water from outstate, or a nice bottle of LaCroix, the commerce power kicks back in.

    Kevin

  175. I admit that I was wrong. This thread didn’t degenerate into joe vs. everybody.

  176. Observation
    Take a look at the comment counter for the different posts and you will learn what people really care about: television, sex, and sugar (or artificial sweetener). The only real exception is the ?ladder? story. I guess fear is up there, too.

  177. dan-

    Threads on evolution also get a lot of posts, as do some Iraq-related threads. With the Iraq ones it sort of depends, though. If there’s a few in one day then some will be neglected. But if there’s only one, and it raises a provocative angle, then we’re guaranteed to top 100 posts.

  178. it’s pretty simple really. threads in which joe gets involved get a lot of posts, because there’s lots of arguing details.

  179. Akira,

    Have you tried Splenda? No chemistry set taste at all.

  180. Too true. *sips an iced tea*

    Tea. Orange Pekoe. Iced. About two quarts a day. Make it so. Earl Grey iced makes a nice change of pace, though, but they don’t make quart-sized Earl grey teabags, so it takes a bunch of little bags, instead.

  181. Michael, be careful. Before long you’ll be buying loose tea and an assortment of infusers. I am peeved that the Shoppe of Insanely Expensive Tea Gadgets near my house moved to the `burbs. Now I’ll have to travel 50 blocks or so for my fix of Barry’s or Bewley’s. Earl Grey and the like are OK for late in the day, but in the a.m. I want real breakfast tea.

    Tea actually has flavonoids and anti-oxidants that are supposed to be good for one. I gave up putting sugar in it years ago, too.

    Kevin

  182. Linguistic map: Soda vs. pop vs. coke, etc. In case anyone’s interested.

    http://www.popvssoda.com/

  183. Soda vs. pop vs. coke. Bah. “Soft drink” was the term I’ve been trying to remember ever since I first read this thread…

  184. Joe,
    Don’t diss Splenda. It’s the only thing that makes coffee fit to drink. I’ll trade all the horrible things it might do to me for the wonderful gift of being able to drink enough coffee fast enough that it goes straight to my brain.

  185. Tea actually has flavonoids and anti-oxidants that are supposed to be good for one. I gave up putting sugar in it years ago, too.

    I sweeten hot tea, myself, but good iced tea doesn’t need anything.

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