by Debbie Moody: 1986.
Hello. I am a humble, effervescent liquid. Humble? Well, that is debatable. Actually, I am quite proud of myself. Allow me to brag a little.
I fizz, sparkle, and bubble my way into thousands of people all over the world, every day. I HAVE MUCH POWER! I can cause individuals to glance nervously at their watches for the next ‘coffee’ break. I cause masses of humanity to make beelines for snack dispensers in plush, high-rise buildings. I stir men, women, and teenagers to dash into their cars late at night to speed to the nearest 24-hour convenience store. I motivate others to root through their purses or pockets for the last vestiges of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, with which they will gladly part in exchange for me.
The best thing about me is: I AM ADDICTING! I am responsible for giving thousands of addicts their daily ‘fixes.’ This is because I sometimes contain a substance called ‘caffeine.’ Caffeine is a stimulant. It makes their hearts beat very fast, and makes their nervous systems work like crazy. They feel as though they could take on the world. I tell you, I have OVERWHELMING PERSONAL MAGNETISM. I’m a sneaky double-agent, too. I pretend to give people all the good they need because caffeine gives them a ‘lift.’ However, a few hours afterward they come crashing ‘down’, get shaky, and need me AGAIN…for another pseudo-charge. This plays havoc with their hearts and nerves, but still, they look to me for relief. I feel very, very smug because I CALL THE SHOTS!
To give me an appetizing brown tint, I contain ‘caramel coloring’, which has genetic effects and is a cancer-causing suspect. I sometimes have polyethylene glycol as one of my ingredients. Glycol is used as anti-freeze in automobiles, and as an oil solvent.
The bubbles and fizz with which I potently burn human insides is caused by my phosphoric acid and carbon dioxide. The phosphorous in the acid upsets the body’s calcium-phosphorous ratio and dissolves calcium out of the bones. This can eventually result in OSTEOPOROSIS, a weakening of the skeletal structure, which can make one susceptible to broken bones. Also, the phosphorous fights with the hydrochloric acid in human stomachs and renders it ineffective. Carbon dioxide is a waste product exhaled by humans, but they ingest it when they drink me.
I offer a selection of three types of sweeteners, according to the customer’s preference. The sweeteners are saccharin or aspartame in the diet type, and sugar or corn syrup in my regular drinks. These substances enhance my appeal and come disguised as ‘good’ for everyone. However, taste can be deceiving. Let me explain.
SACCHARIN is an artificial sweetener which has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. There are warning labels on all my containers in which saccharin is an ingredient. ASPARTAME comes under the brand name NUTRASWEET, and has been linked to convulsions, depression, insomnia, irritability, weakness, dizziness, headaches, mood changes, and mental retardation.
SUGAR and CORN SYRUP can induce both HYPOGLYCEMIA (low blood sugar), and HYPERGLYCEMIA (high blood sugar) in susceptible individuals. Hypoglycemia has been linked to mental illness and hyperglycemia to diabetes. Studies done at the University of Alabama have shown that when healthy volunteers ingested 24 ounces of a sugary cola drink it was very detrimental to their health. The ‘good’ blood cells, which attack harmful bacteria and viruses, decreased substantially, reducing the body’s immunity to disease. Sugar gives you a lift or burst of energy, then sends you crashing down to a severe fatigue, like caffeine does. To get another charge, more sugary drinks are consumed. This pattern exhausts the adrenal glands, and leaves a person with a chronic tired feeling.
GORGEOUS! THAT’S WHAT I AM! I come dressed in a shiny metal can in various colors and tints. Sometimes I am silver, sometimes, gold, sometimes blue, red, etc. I beckon and dazzle shoppers as they stroll past me in the supermarket. On a HOT DAY I am especially ATTRACTIVE, and hands reach for cases of me to share with friends at picnics and parties. However, I am very tricky. My thirst-quenching liquid, which is alluringly encased in the aluminum can, contains traces of the same metal. The acid in the soft drink eats away the aluminum, which floats around until it is ingested by the consumer. It has a particular affinity for the brain and has been linked to the degenerative senility affliction, ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.
Many times humans think they can LOSE WEIGHT by drinking me in the ‘diet’ form. NOT SO! My high sodium content helps them retain water in their bodies and they become ‘edemic.’ The kidneys and bladder do not function properly after a long time habit of soft drink intake. The ingredients in me destroy the beneficial flora in the colon and so constipation results. This locks the ‘toxins’ in the body so they cannot be eliminated properly. The blood is not pure, as a result, and the cells are affected. In order to lose weight, fat must be flushed from the cells. The enzymes responsible for aiding the process of fat release are paralyzed when they are poisoned, and so cannot do their job. People DEFEAT THEIR PURPOSE when they try to lose weight by drinking me.
In conclusion, I would like to admit there is not a ‘smidgeon’ of humility in me. I am very EGOTISTICAL!! I am MASTER over much of the decision-making ability of the human race. HA! You don’t believe me?? Look on school campuses, in city parks, at ball games, in business offices, at street corners---anywhere there are people…SEE YOU AROUND!
This is the year the first "Confessions" article was launched. I wrote Confessions of a Soft Drink and it was published in the Woodland Books newsletter, Today's Herbs, with Louise Tenney as editor.
About 10 years later, it was reprinted in The Enrich Magazine, and without my knowledge, was circulated widely on the Internet. Some people even fraudulently claimed authorship of it!
Enjoy reading the iconic "Confessions of a Soft Drink" and stay tuned for more "Confessions" articles to come!