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I wish Coca Cola would make a acid free version of coke. The Phosphoric Acid adds a slight tang to the drink, but in exchange absolutely destroys your teeth over years of consumption.

For regular drinkers like myself I'd happily pay a small premium to buy the "acid free" version of the drink. The sugar still does damage but with both the acid AND sugar it is like a double whammy of "badness" (acid which destroys your teeth's natural protective coating, and sugar to feed the bacteria which actually eat away at your teeth).

No amount of brushing can really undo the amount of damage acidic soda does to your teeth, trust me I know! Even with prescription toothpaste with fluoride 5x times stronger than normal (5000 ppm toothpaste Vs. 1100 ppm) you're only slowing down the progression.

The problem is, the acid is a vital component of the flavor. Try mixing water with sugar to see what I mean...it is sweet, but it's not particualy good. To make it taste better, the best approach is to add some acid (lemon juice naturally gets you lemonade, but other edible acids would get you a similar effect.) Even fruit juice follows this basic flavor formula (most fruits are acidic, though watermelons are basic)

Watermelon is definitely not basic, it's just less acidic than most other fruits. But it's more acidic than distilled water (<7.0), therefore it's not basic.

Yup, looks like you're right! I stand corrected.

Try drinking water and eating fruit when you feel the urge to have a soft drink. Maybe you do already. It worked really well for me.

Seriously I think outright rejection of all sweetened drinks is probably the best ROI for a dietary change one can make.

The whole truth about what soda pop and other heavily engineered processed foods do to one's metabolism and general health is going to be shocking to people when it is finally revealed, and I think tooth enamel is the least of your worries.

I did a test one year where for a full 365 days, I completely removed all sodas from my diet and changed nothing else, kept my regular doses of exercise the same. Only drank water or tea/lemonade at meals. Easiest 15 pounds I ever lost

Drinking sweetened drinks is exactly what makes the difference for me between losing and gaining weight.

Sodas are sugar water. We already know what sugar does: provide clean, metabolically efficient, allergen free calories. If you're on the road or out and about and hungry, a coke is often the healthiest choice you can make. The quality of options such as fruits and meat and baked goods are typically atrocious at convenience stores and fast food restaurants. Just get a coke and some milk. Available at McDonald's and gas stations nationwide.

This is borderline insane. Pure sugar results in huge swings of actual blood sugar levels. Coke has zero fat, protein or complex carbohydrates all of which are much better macronutrients than pure sugar.

If Coke is your only option, sure, but I've never seen a doughnut so terrible that I'd take a coke instead.

Let me get this straight: you're advocating commercial dough deep fried in corn or soy oil over some sugar? You have no idea what you're talking about.

Sugar does not produce major swings in blood sugar levels unless you're diabetic. Have a working pancreas? Good, then sugars are a perfectly healthy source of calories which your system will merrily mop up into glycogen. Anyway, starch produces a larger insulin response than sugar, so the sugar phobes are laughably ignorant on this count.

As for your concern with nutrients, the fact is an adult male needs 2400+ calories a day. Protein and other nutrient needs are very easily met with some servings of foods such as eggs and milk and potatoes, still leaving a large calorie deficit. Sugar is a perfectly viable way to add four hundred or so calories to your daily diet. Sugary fruit is best, but high quality perfectly ripe fruit is surprisingly difficult to find. Low quality, unripe fruit has many allergens and toxins. In this context sugar is a very good choice.

Personally I daily have about 12 tsp of sugar (in coffee) and a coke. I'm shredded, btw.

How on earth is it hard to eat 2500 calories?! What do you eat? Paper and cardboard? If you find yourself 400 calories short, try a pork pie. If you're 800 calories short, eat two. If you're 1200 calories short, stop skipping lunch.

Who eats 1200 calories for lunch? A whole Chipotle burrito and a drink is only 900 and you'd have to eat that much for breakfast, dinner, and lunch to get past 2500 calories.

>> Who eats 1200 calories for lunch?

1 big mac 540 calories, 1 large fry, 500 calories 1 large Coke 32 oz 310 calories total

Well, perhaps my post was mildly facetious. Just that going by my recollection of the period I was monitoring my food intake, 2500 calories per day didn't seem that hard. Though having consulted the spreadsheet I kept in order to double check, I have to admit that it looks like it isn't that hard to eat less either :)

Snacks can add up surprisingly quickly so if you do have a shortfall I'm not sure it's necessary to resort to eating sugar. For example, 2 bananas and a tin of salmon will be something like 500 calories. That's 20% of your budget right there.

I thought it was known by now that carbs are the Problem and not the solution.

>Let me get this straight: you're advocating commercial dough deep fried in corn or soy oil over some sugar? You have no idea what you're talking about.

1) He wasn't advocating for either.

2) Coke doesn't have sugar. It has HFCS. So your comparison should be - commercial dough deep fried in corn oil over water with coca leaf flavoring and corn oil.

3) I'm sure lots of books say males need 2400+ calories a day. They are probably wrong. Just as "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is wrong. There's plenty of studies that say that second hand smoke isn't bad for you. But these studies are from the early 90's and subsidized by tobacco companies.

> Personally I daily have about 12 tsp of sugar (in coffee) and a coke. I'm shredded, btw.

That's what I was like too, before I turned 25. That's just how it goes, independent of your diet (within reason).

I have never had any issues meeting my daily calorie intake, quite the opposite really. And while not all fruit is in optimal condition for eating raw, I don't know what you mean by "unripe fruit has many allergens and toxins" - allergens are specific to what your own allergies are and "toxins" is an overused word that I don't understand in this context. Mercury is toxic. An unripe apple is not very tasty and may cause a little gastrointestinal distress. At any rate, yes, I'll take a donut over a coke if we're having a false dichotomy contest.

Besides, I don't have to know what I'm talking about as I can go read actual data. Coke has a glycemic rating of 63 (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_gl...) - this list doesn't include donuts and yes, you are correct that things like white bread are actually higher than a Coke but if we take iced vanilla cake as a proxy for a donut the glycemic rating is 44. So yes, to me that seems preferable. Even better would be actual food which is why I don't get most of my nutrition in remote gas stations.

>If you're on the road or out and about and hungry, a coke is often the healthiest choice you can make.

Most people, particularly most biologists and health-care practitioners, would disagree with that.

Uh, just do yourself a huge favor - grab the milk and forget the coke.

Try plain old soda water. It takes awhile to get used to it, but it's the most refreshing drink ever!

It helps to start by adding a little lime juice to the soda water, but after a few months you won't need it.

I started out bringing my own bottles from Safeway to the office, but other people started drinking it and now we go through about 40 liters a week.

I used to drink 1 liter or more club soda most days for several years. At some point I cut back considerably (at most .25 liter in a day), and just drank plain water most of the time. Anecdotally, I felt much more refreshed throughout the day. Comparing how I feel now to then, the soda would have a temporary feeling of being very refreshing, but I would feel thirsty much sooner than drinking plain water.

Time for a home carbonator like SodaStream

Not that it's terrible advice, but note that many fruits are just as bad as coke when looking at acidity.

I'm no chemist, but couldn't you just add a base to neutralize the phosphoric acid (e.g. calcium carbonate)?

You would make a phosphate salt. Depending on its solubility, it may precipitate. Depending on the log K, your cola might no longer be acidic at all, and as others have suggested, not taste as nice, making the addition of both the phosphoric acid and calcium carbonate pointless.

2 H3PO4 + 3 CaCO3 -> Ca3(PO4)2 + 3 H2O + 3 CO2

The calcium phosphate phase listed above may not be the stable phase in cola solution at NTP, but is the simplest example.

How about intentionally adding a base that creates a very water-insoluble salt? Then the process is just 1) add base 2) filter 3) re-carbonate it, and you have non-acidic coke.

Yes, but it'd probably alter the flavor for the worse.

if you were interested in adding salt and water (the by products of a neutralization reaction) to the drink, then yes.

Salt? Sodium chloride? Or you mean the salt of phosphoric acid?

A salt, not salt.

Salt: sodium chloride (NaCl, table salt, etc.) A salt: an ionic compound from an acid-base neutralization

Impossible. Plain old carbonated water is acidic.

This is an important issue as well

> I wish Coca Cola would make a acid free version of coke.

Good luck with an acid-free version of a carbonated beverage.

If you're referring to carbonic acid, it's too weak to cause tooth decay (at least, according to my reading of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_erosion).

But, in addition to phosphoric acid, Coke also has citric acid. I'm not sure you could remove both and get a drink that's still tasty enough...

EDIT: See below. Carbonic acid may not be as meek as I thought.

Yeah, that's definitely wrong. It looks like it's been an unsourced fact in there since the beginning of 2008.

Enamel erosion due to acid is tied to the acidity of the mouth, which, if the pH drops low enough, starts the demineralization of teeth (note, however, that this is a dynamic process, with systems in place to remineralize teeth, and that this dance happens every time we eat or drink something).

Typically carbonated water alone will be well under a pH of 4, which is itself well below the "5.0–5.7...known to trigger dental erosion effects" in the actually cited fact in that article.

You're right. Looks like Wikipedia disagrees with itself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonated_water#Chemistry_and_....


"Dissolution levels with all of the mineral waters were very low and for several still waters were undetectable. Sparkling mineral waters showed slightly greater dissolution than still waters, but levels remained low and were of the order of one hundred times less than the comparator soft drinks. De-gassing of a sparkling mineral water reduced its dissolution, but the total levels were still relatively low suggesting that carbonation of drinks may not be an important factor per se in respect of erosive potential."

I can't access that article, unfortunately, but it's odd that they would suggest that when the next three sentences are about how the mineral content of mineral water can help protect against dissolution:

"The complex and heterogeneous mineral compositions of mineral waters could influence the dissolution equilibrium of apatite in enamel and controlled addition of several ions to ultrapure deionized water was investigated. Calcium ions led to the greatest reduction in hydroxyapatite dissolution, but their effects were moderated by other ions including magnesium and sulphate. Thus, mineral waters appear to offer a safe alternative to more erosive acidic beverages and their complex mineral ion compositions may positively influence any dissolution processes at the tooth surface."

This effect can be surprisingly strong, e.g. here's a study from a few years later showing "that fortifying apple, orange and grapefruit juices with calcium prevented enamel erosion and decreased root surface erosion (P < .01)."[1]

In fact buffering is well known to protect calcium phosphate in teeth from dissolution (e.g. an older study here[2] which points to the saturation of the same calcium and phosphate ions that the study you cite does as the source of protection), so it's actually quite odd that they would suggest that minimal dissolution from sparkling mineral water would suggest that the carbonation may not be an important factor of erosive potential.

It's hard to judge too much from just an abstract, however, and I can't find a full copy anywhere. That suggestion may just be an off-hand one.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056104

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9831784

I don't think pH works the way you think it does.

Neutral pH is 7, things with a lower pH are more acidic Things with a higher pH are basic. So Carbonated water, with it pH of ~4 is a much stronger acid than something with a pH of 5

ah, I can see how you could read my last statement like that, but we're actually in agreement.

Carbonated water's acidity puts it at a lower pH than the acidity needed to start demineralization, so carbonic acid can cause enamel erosion.

Coke only contains phosphoric acid, not citric acid. However, in some countries, Coke is indeed made with citric acid instead of phosphoric.

Coke changes ingredients around to fit local regulations. In Europe, Diet Coke uses acesulfame potassium ("ace-K"), aspartame and sodium cyclamate. Cyclamate's effect is to neutralize some of the bitterness of ace-K and aspartame, but it's banned in the US and some other countries in the 1950s due to research determining it to be harmful. The ban is being upheld despite later research showing that the original science was flawed.

Actually, the Diet Coke I have in front of me lists both acids in the ingredients. Not sure if only the diet version has both.

Well, I did say Coke, not Diet Coke. Diet Coke contains citric acid (but less than phosphoric), Coke does not.

(Downvotes, really?)

I have a friend with pretty big health problems (gout and other problems). I don't know if it is because of gout or any other disease, but he says he shouldn't drink acidic drinks. He cut Coca Cola and is drinking now Red Bull Cola.


I don't like Red Bull Cola and think it is a pretty poor substitute - but he enjoys it.

What's wrong with water?


When I was a kid in the 1970s we had pop on Friday nights a 750ml bottle and a large bag of potato chips shared between my family of four.

Now you see people who drink pop for every meal and for a snack between meals and a huge drink at that 750ml or even a liter for one person is normal. People complain about HFCS and acid, weight gain as if their human rights were being violated! Well excuse me for pointing out the elephant in the room people but stop drinking so much pop! It's a dessert like cake or a candy bar it's not a substitute for water.

In my province for many years cans were banned and all pop came in 355ml bottles, sure you could buy a 750ml but it was a big heavy glass bottle. There weren't any big 2 liter bottles and nothing larger than 355ml for single-serve size. Then one day the ban was lifted and cans were allowed but cans were not put in the pop machine 600ml single-serve plastic bottles were. At first people couldn't drink it all and the break room fridge was full of 1/2 filled bottles of pop, then slowly people learned to drink a full 600ml bottle in one sitting.

It fills you up and offers no nutrition, making it harder to eat enough calories in one day.

At least in my neck of the woods, people seem to have the opposite problem. (i.e. too many calories in their diet) Water is probably a good choice for them.

I think replacing one soft-drink with another similar won't solve many things.

Unless there's a specific component in Coke that increases Uric Acid (the cause of gout)

My Grandfather used to use it to take the rust off his car.

In my country Coke is used by plumbers to unblock drains and pipes. Just knowing that has always discouraged me from drinking it.

I'm not sure why knowing that would discourage you. I'm sure stomach acid would be even better at those tasks, yet your body handles it just fine. Vinegar is great at getting hard water spots of paint. That doesn't mean I stop dousing my fish & chips in the stuff.

Stomach acid is pretty awful on your mouth though. And you would never drink raw vinegar.

This sounds like the old "Leave a penny in a glass of Coke for 12 hours and it starts to dissolve." saw. Apple juice will do the same.

Not that I'm a fan of Coke, I rarely drink it. Although it IS great for an upset stomach.

A million times this. I was ill for a long time. Coke was the only thing that settled my stomach.

Unless you're a little backed up...

Which country?

There isn't any scientific evidence that soda's acid rots teeth. Sugar, yes, but not the acid. It turns out that the acid is too low and not exposed to your teeth long enough to cause any damage. Sugars do stick, however, feeding bacteria and causing rot.

During seltzer water with a spritz of any flavor your like. Healthier and cheaper.

0.5k vs .1,k isn't '5x' though i can assume your end goal

Of course you realize that if there wasn't any Phosphoric Acid in the drink, you would vomit due to the intolerably high concentration of sugar. The acid is fooling your body into drinking the stuff and besides damaging your teeth depletes calcium ions.

No, this is really not true. It's so odd how tenacious these "facts" are when just putting them in context shows how they couldn't possibly be true (let alone actually trying them out).

Simple syrups have a ratio of sugar to water much higher than a coke, and if you try one directly, you'll find it just tasting sweet. Or just eat some sugar or a sugar cube, which has a totally insane concentration of sugar.

You certainly won't be in any danger of vomiting.

Actually, the main reason soft drinks like Coke contain so much sugar is to counteract the carbon dioxide.

Carbonation makes soft drinks taste a lot less sweet; compare a "flat" glass of a soft drink with a carbonated one and the effect will be obvious.

The phosphoric acid (or citric acid in some countries) is what (in addition to caffeine, which is bitter) gives Coke its sour "bite", but it doesn't really change the sweetness that much.

Your teeth re-mineralize constantly. They're not inert. This idea that eating acids or whatever permanently scars teeth is wrong.

If your teeth are failing to heal up from a couple cokes a day the problem is serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Also don't brush your teeth directly after consuming soda or acidic juices/fruits!

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