By now, most everyone has heard the call by a consumer group to the FDA to ban caramel color from soda, due to the presence of two cancer-causing chemicals. While the elimination of potential carcinogens is always a good thing, I think this is an even better opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture: soda itself.
Thinking back to my childhood, soda was everywhere. It was just another one of those everyday items, offered along with your meal, and nobody ever thought twice about it (especially my parents, who worked in the food industry). With the exception of vending machine bans on school property now, not much has changed. Almost every restaurant, food court, gas station, and many households will offer you a sugar- and chemical-laden carbonated cocktail. Even 20,000 feet up in the air, soda has become this inescapable part of daily consumption.
I'm hoping that many will hear about this call for the caramel color ban, and perhaps take this opportunity to ask why so many of us automatically reach for one of these, and even crave them. Soda is nothing but water, high fructose corn syrup, and a mess of other artificial ingredients. It has no nutritional value, and not to mention, we are charged an arm and a leg for this stuff. I've actually been soda-free for several years now, and I won't let my daughter have any, either. I came to the realization that soda is NOT normal; even though the big manufacturers and the media have been telling us otherwise, from the time we were children. What is normal? Water, tea, coffee, juice, and milk (cow's, soy, and almond are our favorites). I think the rise in eco-awareness in recent years, with its onslaught of reusable bottles everywhere, has created more water-drinkers. I know we drink more plain water now, and that is what nature intended. Ever see a deer wander the forest, searching for a stream of brown cola? Maybe on Planet Pepsi :P
So please, raise a glass of clean, pure water with me, and toast to your health! Let's leave soda behind, along with asbestos and lead paint, as another one of humankind's prior mistakes, that we've learned and moved on from.
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Image courtesy of news.sympatico.ctv.ca.