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My name is Lisa Tsakos, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, corporate speaker and author. This blog provides professional advice from a nutrition and weight loss expert (me!) about corporate and family health. Here you'll find recipes and articles that address work-related challenges like eating on-the-go and maximizing your productivity with the right foods. You'll also find out about how you can help your children develop strong immune systems and healthy bodies. As a nutrition instructor, I often found myself thinking, "When I have kids, this is how I will feed them." With two toddlers, I have the opportunity to practice what I have been preaching and to try out my theories. So far, they seem to be working! Follow me on my journey and also on Twitter @NuVitalityHW.

1 Apr 2014

What's in Coca Cola?

This bottle of Coke contains the equivalent of 20 packets of sugar
Even though soft drink sales are losing their fizz, Coke remains in the top spot (followed by Diet Coke). Coca Cola is part of our culture - and every culture around the world. According to NBCnews.com, the Coca Cola logo is recognized by 94% of the world's population. 

Excellent marketing aside, what exactly is in Coke? Here are the ingredients: 

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated water, sugar/glucose-fructose, caramel colour, phosphoric acid, natural flavour, caffeine.

Some call it liquid sugar, some call it diabetes in a can. Whatever you want to call it, the 591 mL bottle of Coke in the photo above contains the equivalent of 20 teaspoons of sugar! But it isn't real sugar, it’s high-fructose corn syrup (which is called glucose-fructose in Canada). 

Glucose-fructose / high-fructose corn syrup is an inexpensive sweetener that has largely replaced sugar in soft drinks and in many processed foods. It is considered a major cause of obesity and an underlying factor in heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many types of cancer.
The caramel colour used in Coke is 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a known animal carcinogen that may very possibly cause cancer in humans too. It is the least expensive and most toxic of the four types of caramel that can be added to foods and drinks.  
Phosphoric acid gives Coke its tangy flavour. This chemical has been linked to low bone density caused by a lower calcium to phosphorus ratio. In other words, phosphoric acid, specifically from colas, interferes with calcium absorption.
What about the natural flavours in Coke? According to www.coca-colahellenic.com, "These are natural flavours from a complex mixture of plants that we use as the source of Coca-Cola’s famous flavours." Exactly what are they and which plants are they derived from? That's a well-protected trade secret.
Finally, caffeine is added to give Coke its bitter taste. A 355 mL (12 oz.) can of Coke Classic has about 35 mg of caffeine, the amount in a cup of tea brewed for 3 minutes. 
Even the water, the first ingredient, is carbonated. There isn't a single natural ingredient in Coke. Not exactly a healthy bevy.
REFERENCES:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/31/usa-soda-beverages-idUSL1N0MS16O20140331
http://www.cspinet.org/new/201203051.html
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/4/936.full 
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/01/business/how-coca-cola-obtains-its-coca.html
http://www.coca-colahellenic.com/~/media/Files/C/CCHBC/documents/125Year_A6Leaflet_v6.pdf

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