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Medicinal Soft Drinks and Coca-Cola Fiends: The Toxic History of Soda Pop (2014) (collectorsweekly.com)
40 points by samclemens 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments





To this day, almost all aluminum cans carrying soda are lined with a resin that inhibits the insulin signaling pathway, and is associated with Type 2 diabetes. Most of the manufacturers make claims that it's harmless.

https://www.coca-colacompany.com/contact-us/faqs

Despite what they say, the scientific consensus is opposite, really, with the vast majority of academic papers suggesting quite harmful effects : https://medium.com/@InfinoMe/diabetes-time-to-resort-to-plas...


If BPA indeed cause those issues, we have more problems at hand than the coating in cans. BPA is everywhere those days.

Glass bottled soft drinks are a treat in more ways than one it seems.

I was under the impression it's all aluminium cans that need a chemical buffer to prevent aluminium from leeching into the fluids. Long term Aluminium poisoning is probably worse than diabetes since it tends to eat away at your brain.

Either way I'm not particularly fond of the flavor that aluminium cans seem to impart on drinks, and have been starting to avoid them more as I get older.


Yup - bisphenol-a containing resins are the precise lining that is used to prevent the aluminum from getting eaten by the carbonic acid.

There was also this fascinating study showing that BPA drove liver fat accumulation much more profoundly than fructose, which I find interesting. Both are clearly bad, but futzing with hormones is especially bad : https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0300483X120036...


I switched to OpenCola[0]. It tastes pretty close, given that it's based on a reverse-engineered/prototype of the Coca-Cola recipe. I like knowing what goes into it. Plus I put about half the sugar into it that the recipe calls for.

There's a UK vendor that sells the concentrate of oils premade. I keep about a liter of the syrup (concentrate + water + sugar) in my fridge and add a tablespoon of so to 8oz of seltzer/mineral water when I want a soda:

https://cube-cola.org/

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCola_(drink)


There must be a market for less sweet sodas. I don't like excessively sweet food nor excessively sweet drinks, I like sweet stuff but not on the level must products are. It's really difficult (at least in my city) to find balanced stuff, most of the time I only have two options: regular soda or zero-sugar soda (even sweeter).

You'd think that there'd be mote of a market for less sweet drinks, but it probably depends on where you live. I really like honest tea's peach tea, which has almost half the sugar of most bottled drinks, and I can't find it anymore in the stores near my house that used to stock it. I'm guessing the distributor just couldn't sell enough in my neighborhood and didn't want to pay for the shelf space anymore, since it disappeared from a bunch of disperate stores within a week or two.

I'd also really be curious about how the seattle soda tax is effecting honest tea in general. I was mildly annoyed by the tax since it claimed to be a sugar tax but charged by the oz rather than per gram of suger, and also didn't effect starbucks sugary drinks.


I've taken a recent liking to completely non-sweet but flavored sparkling water like la croix. The best tasting one I've found so far is Polar Orange Vanilla, which tastes so much like an orange cream soda despite 0 sugar that it's bizarre.

I buy Polar unsweetened sparkling water. Comes in great fruit flavors (just a hint of flavoring) and is cheap, cheap, cheap.

I still occasionally have a Coke -- about once a week with a movie or something -- but my days of Jolt-fueled hacking runs are behind me.


I've seen something like what you describe in stores; I believe it was this brand:

https://www.drysoda.com/dry-sparkling/


I tend to just mix lemonade with water in ratios between 1:2 and 1:5, depending on what still tastes nice enough.

While the dosages were small, they were certainly habit-forming, and soda fountains stood to profit from such consistent customers.

People typically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. You might even say habitually.

Around that time, it became obvious to the medical profession that there weren’t any health benefits to carbonated water on its own, so people started selling it as a treat

With my first pregnancy, I threw up morning, noon and night for eight months. Carbonated water was one of the things I could keep down and it helped make it vastly more bearable.

Keep in mind these fountain drinks with stuff added for "medicinal purposes" existed at a time when, no, you couldn't go to Walmart and select from a wide assortment of reliable OTC drugs without a prescription. If your medicine cabinet at home has multiple different OTC pain killers and cold medicines, my feeling is you really don't have a leg to stand on for scoffing at such practices from a hundred or more years ago.

Coca-Cola absolutely contained ingredients with medicinal properties. It's the one that is probably the best documented. That doesn't mean the others didn't also have real medicinal benefit. It just means we don't necessarily have the records of what went in them and the proof that X ingredient absolutely has medicinal uses.


I had a biology professor tell us in college that both Pepsi and Dr. Pepper were very high in phosphate, which settles your stomach.

I've actually tried it on several occasions when I was sick or nauseous for one reason or another and it really does work well. Just keep the bottle around and take a quick sip when you need some relief.

For me it works a lot better than ginger ale, even though that's supposed to help too.


Ginger ale was the first soda I tried, specifically because I was vomiting.

While I don’t drink soda anymore, ginger ale is the one exception when I am very stressed.


>> While the dosages were small, they were certainly habit-forming, and soda fountains stood to profit from such consistent customers.

> People typically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. You might even say habitually.

They're talking about straight up cocaine and opiates. A glass of Coca-cola contained about 1/4 of a line of coke in it originally.


I get that. I do.

Most spices have medicinal purposes. Inadequate muscle mass -- aka protein -- is linked to insulin resistance. I have eaten butter sandwiches to stop the bone and tooth pain no pain killers helped with.

Food has tremendous chemical impact on the body. We are only beginning to comprehend it.


A friend of mine pointed out that all the original sodas were herbal beverages. Coca-Kola was made to deliver the beneficial properties of two tropical plants (coca leaf and kola nut [2]), root beers were flavored with various plant root extracts, Dr. Pepper has 21 natural flavors, etc. The plant extracts provided anti-oxidants, caffeine, and other medicinal substances.

"Adaptogens or adaptogenic substances are used in herbal medicine for the claimed stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis." [1] - wikipedia goes on to discuss how the term is not considered valid today, where something is only a "medicine" if it's highly purified, entirely isolated from its natural context, and has specific physiological effects that are understood and described.

I think it important to point out that before the modern era, foods and plant-derived substances were humanity's best option for improving our body's function. I've read how civil war soldiers greatly appreciated coffee (entirely imported from tropical countries).

The Coca-Cola company has a monopoly on coca-leaf flavoring [3]. This substance is a good source of anti-oxidants. Coca-Kola allegedly has been found to have more flower extracts than Pepsi-Kola...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptogen [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_nut [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca#United_States

Sodas were originally consumed in small quantities - 8 to 12 ounces was typical. Now we're getting plant-free "sodas" (sugar water with artificial colors and flavors, and without plant ingredients) in 64+ ounce servings.

My poor father buys Coke-zero, not realizing that research has found that people who consume artificially sweetened beverages actually consume more calories in total. I think he's desperate for the caffeine (exhaustion), and doesn't realize the metabolism boost of caffeine is best balanced with a small amount of sugar (caffeine without sugar -> low blood sugar -> cortisol release).

I disagree that "soda pop" was originally toxic. I keep a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Kola around for a small serving (8-ounces) of coca leaf and kola nut in the mid-afternoon period, after lunch & before dinner.


I keep a 2-liter bottle of Coca-Kola around for a small serving (8-ounces) of coca leaf and kola nut in the mid-afternoon period, after lunch & before dinner.

"Coca-tea" ;)


Sodas even became ubiquitous in our offices! And Hackathons!

But to be real; offices having free soda available has its own health downsides; A cola at lunch can quickly become a cola for lunch and afternoon snack -- and maybe even a pick-me-up when tired or stressed. Only, it leads to weight gain through its sugars and the full supressing carbonic acid; acids lead to bone, nail, and organ side effects; and sugars, hfcs, and phosphoric acid start leading us to diabetes.


I'm mostly with you, but carbonic acid is harmless. If anything it might raise the pH in your stomach.

Coca-Cola uses phosphoric acid. Here's a Coca-Cola bottling plant receiving a delivery of phosphoric acid.[1] It's marked with a 1805 (Phosphoric Acid, Corrosive, Class 8) placard. Of course, it's diluted as the product is mixed. This video shows the ingredients - tap water run through an de-ionizing plant, high fructose corn syrup in tank cars, phosphoric acid by the pallet load, flavoring (the "secret ingredient", in bags), and CO2 as a gas.

[1] https://youtu.be/7V6JO0Rfgas?t=189


The acid seems to interact with torn aluminum (from the mouth of the can) to create a specific taste effect that is addictive, or preferred. My skin also would break out reliably, per can consumed (and still does when I test it out).

I switched from consuming soda from cans (and bottles) 2 decades ago. Drinking from soda fountains exclusively is more expensive at times and certainly doesn't taste as good (being a brown sugar suspension with few additives), but my skin stopped breaking out, my diabetes tests are negative, and my weight is consistent. I'm convinced it's not the soda flavor nor only the sugar nor the carbonation, but the containers and solution related to the acid. Bottled soda has all kinds of nasty effects based on how it's stored and for how long, that soured me pretty early on.


Carbonic Acid, or more specifically drinks with carbonic acid (with or without anything else) have recently been shown to increase calorie consumption.

Phosphoric acid (popular in Coke) is the much more dangerous one eating bone, organs, affecting the liver.


chronically lowered stomach pH is associated with gastrointestinal bleeding

I deliberately quit drinking soda for about a decade, and a few months ago during an appointment with my doctor, I realized it had slipped back into my diet. Turns out, really spicy ginger beers are still soda, and that I had become a soda drinker once again :(



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