Please Explain: Soda

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ever since Joseph Priestly discovered how to "impregnate water with fixed air" in the 18th century, carbonated beverages have been ubiquitous. Sodas have been used to cure diseases, fight alcoholism, and spread American culture around the globe. On this week's Please Explain, we’ll find out what soda is, what’s in it, and when it became so popular. We’re joined by Dr. Kelly Brownell, the co-founder and director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and Darcy O'Neil, beverage master and author of the book Fix the Pumps, a history of soda from the 18th century to the present.


Dr. Kelly Brownell, and Darcy O'Neil

Comments [19]

Sandra from Astoria

I hardly ever drink soda, but this summer I was in Europe and was tempted by the Orangina. I noticed that sugar was the 3rd ingredient, after carbonated water and orange juice/pulp.

Back in the States, I had a hankering for Orangina so I bought some--but the American version didn't taste as good as its European counterpart! I looked at the ingredients and high fructose corn syrup was the 2nd ingredient, after water and before orange juice concentrate. Yuck.

Sep. 17 2010 01:58 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The Maine Root soda co. makes a sarsaparilla soda (http://www.maineroot.com/products_sarsaparilla.php) that's sold in NYC. I've bought it in health food stores. The website has a "where to buy" link.

There's also a co. called Pappy's that makes a sassafras tea concentrate (http://www.sassafrastea.com/home/sassafrastea.php). Not sure where to get it, though.

Sep. 17 2010 01:57 PM
pam from nyc

Ask the doctor to talk about the tooth- and bone- depleting effects of all carbonated drinks.

Sep. 17 2010 01:57 PM
pam from nyc

Ask the doctor to talk about the tooth- and bone- depleting effects of all carbonated drinks.

Sep. 17 2010 01:55 PM
John from New Jersey

I read an article recently -- I believe in the New York Times -- that said that the use of artificial sweeteners sometimes leads to INCREASED use of sugar. The reason for this was that people award themselves for using artificial sweeteners by using real sweeteners. I wonder if there have been any studies (with statistically significant results) that affirm this?

Sep. 17 2010 01:55 PM
Estelle from Austin

Do your guests think that the farm subsidies are part of the obesity problem, by making corn--and therefore corn sugars--cheaper?

Sep. 17 2010 01:53 PM
T Scott from Brooklyn

How about the politics of Coke and Pepsi?

Coke is Democrat
Pepsi is Republican

That's where loyalties really lie.

Sep. 17 2010 01:53 PM
Franchesca from New Jersey

Sugar substance-Aspartame is poison for you! it kills your digestive system! Sooner or later your body will start treating it as sugar any way...

Sep. 17 2010 01:52 PM
Ash in Chelsea

I was rather shocked to hear Leonard's substitute host say that he was going to stop and drink some Coke on this show. What was the point of that? And, why announce it to his listening public?

Was that a mild endorsement from him for this product? Would he stop and smoke a cigarette if the dangers of cigarettes were being discussed? Or, munch on the fat from a pork chop if the dangers of too much fat in a diet were being discussed?

Maybe it was his attempt at humor...?

Sep. 17 2010 01:51 PM
Laurence from UES (today)

I can definitely tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. In fact, my preference has changed with age. As a child, my preference was for the sweeter Pepsi taste, but as an adult as my palate has 'matured' my preference has shifted to Coke.

Sep. 17 2010 01:49 PM
T Scott from Brooklyn

How about the politics of Coke and Pepsi?

Coke is Democrat
Pepsi is Republican

That's where loyalties really lie.

Sep. 17 2010 01:47 PM
opal from NYC

Ensure is not a soda but it is a beverage often given to the elderly who are ill or recovering. The first ingredient is sugar. Why is this suggested as a nutrional food?

Sep. 17 2010 01:46 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was discussed on the Lehrer Show this morning.

I've read anecdotal accounts of people finding they are more satiated when drinking drinks with actual sugar, but feel more inclined, even driven, to drink more of the beverage when it's sweetened with HFCS.

Any studies/info on this?

Sep. 17 2010 01:45 PM
DancesWithRobots from Deer Park, LI

The amount of sugar in soda is a no-brainer. What about the less obvious effects? I accidentally found out that the phosphorous in cola flavored soft drinks was responsible for the near crippling joint pain I was experiencing.

As for Mikey--No, that's just an urban legend, and as a matter of fact, decades later he appeared as an adult in a promotional campaign for Life cereal.

Sep. 17 2010 01:43 PM
Sher from Manhattan

Not only Obesity!
Sodas also contain phosphoric acid, so, in addition to the sugar being very harmful to your teeth, the acid also eats away the enamel in heavy users!

Sep. 17 2010 01:40 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If cola (& other sodas) was the morning drink 100 years ago, does that mean drinking coffee & tea in the morning started relatively recently?

BTW, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (http://cspinet.org/) calls soft drinks "liquid candy."

Sep. 17 2010 01:40 PM
KC from Wayne

Please ask your guests if the fountain sodas at restaurants are any different from the bottled versions of the same beverage or if they are a little more watered down (they seem to me to be).

Sep. 17 2010 01:32 PM
troy from Carroll Gardens

Is it true that Mickey was killed by drinking Coke and eating Pop Rocks at the same time...?

Sep. 17 2010 01:29 PM
JT from Long Island

Why is CO2 used? Would another gas work just as well?

Sep. 17 2010 09:45 AM

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