Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  CDS Blogging Contest: Soda in moderation


Last fall, the Chicago Dental Society turned its newspaper journalism contest into a blogging contest open to any high school student in Cook, Lake or DuPage County who answered the question, "Is Soda Just Liquid Candy?"

Full details on how to enter are posted to our contest Web page. Deadline for entries is February 1, 2010.

This entry is by Nia M. 

Soda, the perfect combination of sugar and fizz. It goes well with just about anything, and tastes especially good when you're thirsty on a scorching summer day.

Sounds delicous, huh? Don't you just want a can right now?

Bet you wouldn't want any if I offered you a can of Sprite and said "Hey. Do you want a can of high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, seltzer water, and other chemicals I can't pronounce?"

Maybe not.

Soda is good, I'm not going to lie and I savor the 6 to 8 ounces of chemicals whenever I can.

Unfortunately, I only get to experience the refreshing taste of soda a few times a year. My parents don't believe that my little sister and I should be allowed to drink soda every day, so we only get it on special occasions or when we go out to eat. When we go to the movies, my sister and I split a large lemonade or an iced tea while my parents share a Diet Coke. Even on Christmas or New Year's Eve, they are still hesitant to let me have a can of Coca Cola and force me to share it. My parents tell me that soda is just "sugar water" and that it will mess up my teeth and rust my braces, even though I promise to brush my teeth for fifteen minutes afterwards. They also say that soda tastes disgusting, although they often drink it at the dinner table.

Soda has been accepted as a part of society and can be seen everywhere; from billboards to TV commercials, in the hands of businessmen and teenagers. Soda is not only widely popular for its wide array of flavor or the sizzling sound it makes. The extremely low cost of soda is what really makes this fizzy drink attractive to so many. McDonald's promotes a 32 oz. cup of Coca-Cola for only $1, while healthier options, such as water and orange juice are more expensive. Some corner stores sell cans of soda for as little as .69 each, and 2 liter bottles of soda are often offered for an extra $1.50 when you call in to order a pizza. In the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, everyone is challenged to taste all 64 flavors of Coca-Cola and each visitor leaves with a free bottle. When you look at the weekly paper, there's always a Dominick's or Jewel's ad for a new "buy two, get one free" sale on 24-can cases of soda. Soda is affordable and fits any budget, and perhaps that's why it remains the favorite drink of many Americans. In the current economic recession, people need as many ways to save money as they possibly can, and sadly, soda is one of those cost-reducing methods.

Sure. It's cheap, it's tasty, it's refreshing, it gives you a quick energy burst. But what the billboards don't tell you is that soda is filled with tons of sugar and empty calories. Remember that 32 oz cup of Coca-Cola I was talking about earlier? One large cup of soda can contain up to 310 calories. If McDonald's advertised 310 calories of sugary liquid for $1 instead of soda, most people would think twice before buying it. Yeah, the kids on TV may seem extremely energetic and happy, but the truth is, soda is filled with caffeine, so it gives you a quick burst of energy, and then you crash (trust me, I'm speaking from experience). Their teeth look as white and sparkly as pearls, so what your parents tell you can't be true. WRONG. Soda is nothing more that liquid sugar with bubbles. After my little sister got her first cavity, our dentist suggested she reduce her soda intake. She did, and when we returned for our next visit, he noticed that her teeth were looking a lot better. If soda companies advertised cavities and an increase in dental bills, soda wouldn't seem so cost-effective to most families.

I'm not against soda, and if I told you that I was, I'd be lying. I'm not telling you to never buy a can of pop again, because I'll probably buy another can of A & W Cream Soda this week. I'm just saying, soda is okay once in a while and you should only have it sparingly. Everyone is supposed to have 6-8 servings of liquid a day. If one of those liquid servings is soda, and the rest are water or tea, you'll notice that you'll feel a lot better. We are given 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day…do you really want to waste 10% of those daily calories on soda? It's cheap, but the consequences of too much soda will cost you more than .69. Just cut back on the Root Beer and Fanta, your teeth and your parents will thank you.