Love it or hate it: Soda

by David Holub

Love it

Before 7-11 had to ruin everything with 1,100-ounce breadloaf-sized to-go soda containers prompting outright municipal bans, before soft drink companies started pumping the HFCS and using unpronounceable ingredients (I’d list a few but it would seriously eat away at my character count), before soda seemingly single-handedly established the U.S. as the world’s leader in fat-assery, before soda got this snobby stigma as nothing more than a teeth-rotting ticket on the obesity train, before all that, soda was the best thing going in the world. And I say it still is.

As a kid, I essentially revolved my life around soda. The main reason I played baseball was for the single post-game soda (To the parents who skimped and got the clearly-inferior store-brand grape soda: Shame on you). Through high school, I could definitely rank my friends based on the soda situation at their houses. As a young sports reporter, I’d cover college football and chain-drink cups of Pepsi the entire game in the press box, and with every gulp I’d bellow in my head, “Ahhhh, how refreshing.”

Today, soda for me is a treat. Soda is fun: The tingly, belch-inducing carbonation, the delightfully peculiar flavors we get in no other area of food and beverage like cola and root beer. Or I’ll get one of those cute little 8-ounce bottles of Coke and imagine it’s regular-sized and I’m just a giant (try it, please).

These days, I always have a few bottles of Zuberfizz on hand, mainly for feel-good mixers. But occasionally I like to crack one open on its own and savor each special cane-sugary sip.

— David Holub

Hate it

Soda is delicious. But it’s a sugary demon, lying in wait.

With no nutritional value whatsoever, there are zero health benefits to consuming the stuff. Sadly, many Americans drink soda in large quantities anyway, instead of water (or other healthier beverage alternatives). Go to Walmart and you’ll see shopping carts packed with apocalypse-worthy quantities of canned pop.

Soft drinks have been linked definitively to obesity. Plus it’s bad for your teeth, causing plaque buildup, leading to cavities and gum disease. No one’s gonna like you if your teeth are rotting out.

Soft drink companies are the largest user of sugar in the country. A single can of soda contains 10 teaspoons – holy shit. That’s just one can. Over time, ingesting that much sugar can lead to diabetes or insulin resistance, in addition to weight gain.

It’s addictive. I’ve known several people who claim total dependence on Diet Coke. People assume calorie-free soda is better for them; but aspartame is one of the biggest health culprits in diet soda, and it’s one of the key ingredients associated with addiction.

I only drink soda every once in a while, but I still crave it randomly. A lot of soft drinks contain caffeine, which is also addictive; so if you’re addicted to the caffeine in soda, you have two bad habits rolled into one delightful double whammy. Maybe you should check yourself before you wreck yourself.

— Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

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