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This Will Get You Fat in a Hurry!

August 18, 2010

Picture it: Tuesday afternoon. Hot and humid, the sky pregnant with rain.

A colleague and I had been to Tyson Park to do a little logistics reconnaissance in advance of the Hotter ‘n Hell 5K when we dropped by a local convenience store (rhymes with “eyelet”) to pick up a cold, frosty, non-alcoholic beverage. Diet Dr. Pepper (DDP for short) is my usual beverage of choice when I’m not drinking water or coffee.

I’m strolling to the front of the store to fork over some lucre when I behold several of these sitting on a shelf:

My teeth hurt thinking about the sugar content of a 64-ounce thermal jug filled with Mountain Dew. They also had several with the Coca-Cola logo emblazoned on them.

Now, I’m all for free food choice, but the availability of such a vessel is insanity. Or ignorance, take your pick. If you filled this sucker with 64 ounces of Dew, and proceeded to drink it, you’d consume just over 900 calories. That’s 900 empty calories. Straight to your fat assets calories.

Because we’re not chewing, we don’t always consider what we drink to be high in calories. And the carbonated beverage market has exploded (no pun intended) in just a few short decades.

Growing up, soda (yes, soda, not “pop” or “coke”) was a luxury we enjoyed with only certain meals, usually tacos or pizza. My dad was the only person I knew who drank sodas on a regular basis, and he was a Pepsi man. Pepsi, blech.

I didn’t start mainlining carbonated beverages until college, maybe late in high school, but even then I transitioned to diet beverages quick. I was already overweight and was very conscious of the empty calories. I just wanted the caffeine, and donuts or candy to go along with it. I got my empty calories by chewing them, dagnabit! 

I still drink too many DDPs, but I also drink lots of water and Crystal Light or similar products. As Descartes once said, “I drink, therefore I pee.”

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