Almost every day I take my life in my hands — 20 fluid ounces at a time. Pop goes the willpower.
While not a 2-liter-a-day junkie, I am a habitual soft drink offender. I even pay a 10-cent deposit fee for my addiction.
Whether bottle or can, soda or pop, I'm among the millions of Americans who can't get through the day without a visit to the doctor — Dr Pepper, that is.
As vices go, soda sipping falls between smoking and watching reality television; all three are a detriment to well-being. Luckily there is no such thing as secondhand exposure to high fructose corn syrup. Too many episodes of "Swamp People" will pop your brain cells.
Unlike smokers who light up before breakfast, I don't roll out of bed and crack open a Coke. However, this speaks more to brand loyalty than commendable restraint. I'm a Pepsi guy.
I can usually hold out until 11 a.m. before I hit the bottle — or soda can.
Round figure wise, the typical American drinks 50 gallons of soda every year. It seems unfathomable that I could down 189 liters of this liquid refreshment over 12 months. Of course, what fast-food order isn't complete without a straw attached to a 55-gallon drum of pop?
It's no wonder our cars come equipped with 14 cup holders.
I do exercise enough soft-drink restraint to keep another fact from weighing me down: Two daily sodas can pack on a pound a week. There are other bad numbers. A typical 20-ounce pop contains 17 teaspoons of sugar. The same size Mountain Dew is 290 empty calories.
Soft drinks are heavily linked to health problems. Studies suggest pop consumption contributes to diabetes, bone loss, childhood obesity and dental decay. Have a Coke and a smile, anyone?
However, a "diet" soda won't offset health risks or that Big Mac and fries. Woe if you drink these artificially-sweetened beverages. You might as well roll on a fire ant hill wearing only a lunchmeat necklace.
The U.S. government has even waded into the sticky national soda tax debate.
Last month, Hawaii lawmakers killed a proposed tax that would have added 17 cents to a single-serve bottle of soda, according to a Bloomberg NJews report. The March 13 article notes that efforts to enact such levies have fallen flat in 30 states. I guess Mr. Pibb has well-connected lobbyists.
Habits involving caffeine, Yellow 5 and other "natural flavors" are hard to break. I should go cold erythorbic acid and give up pop drinking altogether. Water is clearly a healthier alternative — no addictive qualities or bottle deposit fee.
Then again, I could wait until someone files a soda pop class-action lawsuit. If the judge rules on the side of the outlandish free-will consumer argument — well, pop goes that case.
The soft-drink choice is in my hands. Unfortunately, so are several less soda fluid ounces after writing this column.