Thursday, February 18, 2010

Killer Corn (Syrup): Drop the Soda Can & Back Away from the Sports Drink!

As part of my attempt to become more healthy, one of the things that I have set out to do is eliminate as much Corn Syrup from my diet as I possible. I have not consumed a sports drink in over three years, and was never a big fan of them in the first place. When I lived in Japan, I would sometimes drink what the Japanese call "genki drinks", which are energy drinks that come in bottles about the size of an airplane bottle. I have to admit that I was pretty fond of these drinks when I was sick and had to go to work or when I was going to pull an all night bender in Tokyo. However, when I returned to the states, I was shocked by the size of American energy drinks like Red Bull and the way that the were marketed and have never partaken of one. Soda, however, is a whole other story. Prior to going to Japan, soda was my life blood! I drank it all of the time and much more than water. I knew that this could not be good for me, but I just didn't really care enough to look for other options. If I was thirsty, I had either soda, coffee, or maybe OJ. Water was something that I drank with medicine and sometimes not even then. I just did not have enough self respect to care about the condition of my body or what I put into it.

But upon arriving in Japan, I decided to makes some changes to my life, and one of the first changes that I made was cutting back on the amount of soda in my diet. I did not buy sodas out of machines, at convenience stores, nor would I buy them for my home. Weening myself off of soda was much easier in Japan than it would have been in the States because Japanese vending machines

 and convenience stores offered a much larger selection of tea, coffee, and juices than can be found in their American counterparts. By the time that I left Japan, I would drink about one Soda a week on average, which was a remarkable change considering I had to average at least three a day before my move. Upon return to America, I made a concerted effort to keep the sodas out of my life. I came across a story about the over use of Corn Syrup in the American Diet and the dangers of soda's and sports drinks, which led me to really harden my stance concerning these beverages. I can not claim that I have kicked the soda habit, but I can tell that I have drank less that one soda since the new year, and that in all of last year, I had around one per month (over half of which were sodas made from pure cane sugar and not HFCS). Recently, I found another article that adresses the danger of high-fructose corn syrup and crystalline fructose and a story on NPR talking about beverage companies moving back to sugar. I really think that the best way to improve your health is to do so in an across the board approach and for me eliminating soda and products that use HFCS is just one small step in what I know must be a lifelong process.

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