Stories tagged soda

You can't make this stuff up. As reported in a recent Scientific American article:

"PepsiCo, [Mountain Dew]'s parent company, defended itself against a man who claimed he found a dead mouse in a can of the citrus soda. Experts called in by PepsiCo's lawyers offered a stomach-churning explanation for why it couldn't be true: the Mountain Dew would have dissolved the mouse, turning it into a 'jelly-like substance,' had it been in the can of fluid from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff opened it, 15 months later.

Forget legal disputes over canned vermin. The new question has become: Is Mountain Dew really so corrosive that it can dissolve a mouse carcass? And if so, what does it do to your teeth and intestines?"

Oh, hello, Pepsi. I see you've developed a soda bottle composed of 100% plant materials that is identical to their current bottle. That's nice. Too bad what's inside still tastes like fairy tears.

No, that's not fair. I don't even drink much soda. I only said that to sound cool. I'm sure Pepsi is just as delicious as Coca Cola, if not more so. In fact, "fairy tears" sound wonderful. It's just a shame you have to hurt little fairies (or their feelings) to get them.

Anyway, a 100% plant based bottle, instead of a PET plastic bottle. That might be good for the world. But I'm wary of 100% natural claims. The world is a complicated place. I guess we'll just have to wait until 2012 when they test market the bottle.

Wait ... 2012? Uh oh.

It's Friday, so it's time for another Science Friday video. Science Friday
Science Friday
Courtesy Science Friday
"Engineer James Bird estimates that he watched thousands of bubbles pop while he was getting his Ph.D. at Harvard University. With the help of high-speed cameras, Bird and his colleagues discovered that when interfacial bubbles--bubbles resting on water or a solid--pop, they give birth to a ring of baby bubbles. The discovery, published in Nature, has implications for soda drinkers and global climate estimates."
Feb
09
2010

Playing with fire: Delicious fire.
Playing with fire: Delicious fire.Courtesy esherman
The people of the world wait, their breath held, their tongues clenched between their teeth, open cans of Fresca frozen halfway to their mouths. What do you mean, JGordon? Does soda give me cancer? Or not?

Well?!

Don’t worry, folks. It’s mostly “or not.” Or is it? Or not.

You may have heard (or read—I call it “hearing with your eyes”) that soft drinks might raise your chances of developing cancer. That was probably hard to hear (or read—I call “listening through your face-holes”), because I know you’re generally pro-soda, and generally anti-cancer, and you had been living your life in the hope that there would never be any conflict between the two. You can probably go on living like that, because it’s unlikely that pop is really going to give you cancer, but you should be aware that the world is a complicated place, and your soda and your cancer are sadly not excluded from the complications.

See, a the results of a study out of the University of Minnesota were recently published claiming that there seemed to be a link between the regular consumption of soft drinks (sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages) and a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer isn’t one of the fun cancers (like, ah, cancer of the… nothing). Although relatively rare, the three-year survival rate for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is about 30%, and the survival rate after five years is only 5%.

The study was based on a 14-year survey of 60,524 men and women in Singapore. Of that group, 142 people developed pancreatic cancer. Examining the lifestyles of those who did and did not develop cancer, the researchers found that people who drank two or more soft drinks a week (5 was the average) had an 87% increase in their chances of getting cancer. And because Singapore is a fairly wealthy country with good health care, the scientists think that the results could apply fairly well to western countries as well.

Oh, no! Right? I can’t give up RC Cola!

Well… eh. The thing to keep in mind is it’s all very complicated. Even if there was a direct link between sift drink consumption and pancreatic cancer, your chances of developing the cancer, even as a soda drinker, would still be very small. But, the thing is, there isn’t necessarily a direct link between the two; there’s an association here, but maybe not a causal link. That is, people who drink soda are more likely to get pancreatic cancer, but we don’t know it’s the soda that causes the cancer.

Soft drink consumption itself was associated with behavior like smoking and red meat consumption, so it’s difficult to say that it’s just the soft-drinking (as it were) that contributes to the increased cancer risk.

Researchers do think, however, that it’s possible that soda could be involved in a causal relationship with the cancer. The high sugar levels in soda probably contribute to increased insulin production and presence in the body, which may contribute to pancreatic cancer cell growth. The study also found, however, that there was no association between fruit juice consumption and pancreatic cancer, which sort of makes me wonder. Lots of fruit juice, after all, is very sugary (even if it’s not quite so sweet as most soda). So does it have something to do with the type of sweetener used? Most soda in this country is sweetened with corn syrup, but that’s not necessarily the case in other countries (see Coca Cola for an example), and there’s some debate as to how the body might react to different sweeteners.

Anyway, you aren’t completely taking your life in your hands if you finish that can of Fresca. (Fresca was probably a bad example, seeing as how it uses artificial sweeteners, and will probably give you a totally different kind of cancer.) You’re better off just taking the dip out of your mouth. It’s gross with Fresca anyhow.

May
21
2009

Back in high school I was addicted to Mountain Dew, possibly the most disgusting soda flavor ever invented. Unfortunately, my high school days were so boring that I don't remember much about them, but I do remember drinking 3 or 4 bottles of Mountain Dew each day, a habit that became much easier when all of the milk machines were replaced with brand new Pepsi machines that dispensed 20oz bottles.

Somehow I managed to avoid obesity and was even able to kick the habit after high school, when poverty forced me to survive on tap water. Turns out water is actually not so bad.

Since I stopped drinking soda, I haven't really thought much about its health impacts, until a friend sent me a link to this article detailing some of the side effects of excessive soda consumption. Medical researchers are so alarmed by some of the cases that they've seen of individuals who've gotten sick from soda, that they're now issuing a warning about its health dangers. One researcher writes:

Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, in which the blood potassium levels fall, causing an adverse effect on vital muscle functions.

So soda doesn't just make you fat and jittery, it can also lead to a range of health problems, including fatigue, appetite loss, persistent vomiting and heart problems. Hypokalaemia is just one of many conditions that can result when you drink too much soda.

Granted, the individuals mentioned in this research review drank soda in amounts that are almost incomprehensible. One man who appeared at a hospital with severe muscle weakness routinely drank up to 10 liters a day of soda! That's nearly 4,000 calories from sugar!

Reading this article really made me think about some of the old advertisements for my (former) favorite soft drink. It's funny how everyone in this TV ad seems so fit and active, the exact opposite of what medical research says will happen if you drink too many soft drinks.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently drew a correlation between drinking excess amounts of soda or sugary drinks and weight gain. Researchers stated an extra soda or sugary drink a day can pile on fifteen extra pounds in a year.