By Marisa Peck
Sometimes feeling our best involves doing more, and sometime it involves doing less. We are going to focus on a friendly foe in our midst; a culprit who offends both personal health and also the health of our planet. I am talking about our beloved soda pop.
Commercial soft drink products typically contain water that is stolen directly from people who need it, in some part of the world that the corporate giants think you don’t care about. That water is then mixed with high fructose corn syrup or aspartame. High fructose corn syrup is widely known to cause obesity, diabetes, mood swings, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and it can depress the immune system making you more vulnerable to disease. Aspartame was approved for use amid very shady circumstances the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981. Monsanto’s subsidiary GD Searle had previously been denied approval for use of the product because aspartame had caused brain tumors in lab rats. But this time around, when the committee voted to again deny the application by 3-2, Reagan’s new FDA commissioner Arthur Hayes appointed a 6th member to vote in Monsanto’s favor, and then broke the tie himself allowing Monsanto the use of aspartame in consumer products. Less than two years later, Hayes left the FDA and went to work for Monsanto’s public relations team. Further studies of aspartame have only raised more questions regarding its safely. But in the meantime, it is in our diet sodas. Also in our sodas, both diet and regular, are artificial colorings that are proven to cause cancer. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the FDA to ban the use of these artificial colors, but so far there has been no response.
As if the soda itself were not bad enough, there is all that packaging it comes in. It takes a huge amount of energy (OIL) to produce the plastic and aluminum bottles that contain the 15 million gallons of soda we Americans purchase every year. We recycle less than one fifth of these items. The rest go into landfills or directly into the ocean. There are also all the crates and plastic wrappings that are used during the many stages of transportation (more OIL) the soda has to go through before it gets into our hands. Let’s not even get started about how plastic bottles release hormone mimicking chemicals into the beverages… but if you’re interested you can Google it!
So this month’s health tip is to stop drinking soda. Save the money you would have spent on soda and invest that money in a water filtering pitcher and a canteen that you can fill up and keep with you. At fast food restaurants they will always give you a free cup for water and even fill up a to-go cup for you at the drive through window. So no excuses, even when you’re on the run! We are lucky to live in a part of the world where clean water is readily available, and smart enough to know that our bodies deserve the best. Drink to your health. Cheers to you!