I'm sitting in a McDonald's...

I'm sitting in a McDonald's in Hazlet, New Jersey writing this article. Free WiFi. Anyway, I've been watching the customers fill their big ole cardboard cups with soda. Coke and Sprite are the most popular; Diet Coke is getting some action too. As I look around me, I see about 30 people. Almost every single one of them is drinking a carbonated drink of some kind. There are three notable exceptions. One guy has coffee. One family has a chocolate milk for their impossibly cute little black kid. And me water.

Why don't people just drink water? I don't get it. Number one, water is free. I ordered a chicken sandwich on whole-grain bread (yes, they do have whole-grain bread now, surprise) and a cup of water. They gave me a small drink cup and trusted me to fill it with water and not soda. For families who have to careful with their money, that should be enough of a reason right there. What does soda cost, like $1.89 maybe, or $2.49, I didn't look on the menu. I never look because I never buy it. A family of four can spend almost ten dollars just for drinks, with no nutritional value whatsoever. If that family eats out twice a week, that's $1000 a year!

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Is Coke really THAT good?

I also see a lot of people with fries, so I assume most of them purchased a value meal, with a sandwich, fries and drink together. The drink probably comes out cheaper that way. Even then, why don't they just fill the cup with refreshing water instead of the sugar or chemical-laden, basically poisoned water?

I'm no doctor, but these folks just don't look too healthy to me. Well, this is McDonalds after all, not the salad and sprouts bar at GreenLove Market, so I guess we shouldn't expect the healthiest people in town to eat here. We could also talk about the french fries, white bread and whatever kinds of non-food food goes into chicken nuggets. Have you ever looked closely at one? Pretty scary.

Right now though, I'm just thinking about the beverages.

"Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody." -Mark Twain

Mark was right. However, Coke, Pepsi, Sprite and the rest CAN hurt somebody, even in moderation. Sugary sodas are loaded with calories. I read that the average American drinks about 60 gallons, yes GALLONS, of soft drinks every year. That's an astounding number. Could this have something to do with our obesity crisis? I say yes.

And the "sugar" in soft drinks isn't really sugar, it's high-fructose corn syrup. Most soft drinks use this highly controversial substance as the sweetener, not table sugar (sucrose) that was common just a decade ago. There is lots of information about HFCS on the net, including very slick websites from the big food manufacturing conglomerates assuring us that it is safe and identical to sugar. You will also find several studies that prove the opposite; A Princeton study showed that rats drinking high-fructose corn syrup gained lots more weight than rats drinking table sugar and their triglycerides became elevated as well. You'll find this "safe" sweetener to be linked to liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more.

There are some sodas on the market, not in McDonalds, that proudly proclaim that they use only "real" sugar. This is a little better, and when I drink a soda, yes, I do, once in a great while, maybe once every two months, I drink Mountain Dew Throwback, with real sugar. Mmmmmmmm. But soft drinks with real sugar are still super high in calories and have other questionable chemicals. They'll still kill you, but probably slower.

So the solution is diet soda right? NO! Drink water. Diet sodas are, in many cases, worse than the sugary drinks. Studies show increased risk of heart attack and stroke amongst people who drink diet drinks. I've even read that although diet drinks do not contain calories per se, they cause some chemical action in the body that causes people to gain weight. That really does not sound like a good thing.

Have I mentioned lately that you should DRINK WATER?

If you really love the sugar and chemical-laden drinks so much, I have a suggestion. Start drinking water with your meals, lots of water, breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. Then, once a week, set aside a time to enjoy one soft drink. Get exactly the one you want, exactly the way you like it, whether that's a 44-ounce monster from 7-11 with lots of ice, slurped from a cold can, or served in a proper glass at your kitchen table. Your body can handle a certain amount of toxins, that's what it does. Exercise it a little. But don't overwhelm it. If you take this advice, you'll be healthier, I promise. And I also promise that you will really, really enjoy that one drink; you'll look forward to it all week.

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Posted in Personal Development Post Date 01/05/2022


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