Pop – The Liquid Candy

Knowing “pops” are “sodas” in America, I still prefer the former because it is rather onomatopoeic. People in all ages love pops, and it is hard to tell what exactly do we like in particular about them – the refreshing feelings, possibly, but there are certainly many other things.


Let’s start with a seemingly simple question: what (on earth) are there in a can of pop? I assume the question to be simple because we drink pops often. Surely we can tell that there are sugars and water in them because all pops, despite the different “flavours,” are sweet liquid. We probably also know, from newspapers and other sources, that caffeine presents in pops. But what else are there in pops? Or, what are there in diet pops that give them the sweet taste? Those questions are not easy to answer, and it is rather frightening that we know rarely about the drink that is ubiquitous in our lives.

Then let’s talk about something we do know about – sugar.


From the nutrition label printed on each cans and bottles, we surely know (or are able to acknowledge) that nearly 40 grams of sugar is added to a can of, say, coke. However, how much, exactly, is 40 grams of sugar? Throwing the number 40 with a unit on most people is nothing but a vague term. However, a website called sugarstacks help us visualize those sugar.

The sugar in pops can lead to many health problems and concerns, such as weight gain and tooth decay. They coat teeth and tongue long after consumption. The coating breaks down enamel on teeth, making them more susceptible to rotting. (Click here to read more)

As people become more aware of the effect of sugar on our health, there comes the diet pops. However, many become addicted to those zero-calorie drink because caffeine is used as addictive in both regular and diet pops. For a can of coke, which contains 40 grams of sugar, roughly 35 milligrams of caffeine can also be traced. High levels of caffeine may also lead to dehydration. Other negative effects of caffeine include increased fatigue, depression, difficulty to concentrate, and becoming more irritable. Worst of all, caffeine is addictive, and many people experience headache from withdrawing the substance. (Click here to read more)

Other than caffeine, the rituals and the artificial sweeteners it contains can make people psychologically and physically addict to diet pops.

“You think, ‘Oh, I can drink another one because I’m not getting more calories,'” says Harold C. Urschel, MD, an addiction psychiatrist in Dallas and the author of Healing the Addicted Brain. “Psychologically you’re giving yourself permission.”

There are certainly much that you can do to avoid the concerns that pops arise, and realizing the negative effects of pops is a solid first step. Here I will present five reasons why you should stop drinking pops. (Please click here for details)

  1. Prevent Obesity and Other Diseases
  2. Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis
  3. Maintain Dental Health
  4. Avoid Kidney Stones
  5. Avert Effects of Caffeine

Here is a link to the video for visualization of sugar in pop if you think that the stacks of sugar are still not good enough.


7 thoughts on “Pop – The Liquid Candy

  1. I personally don’t like drinking sodas because they all make me feel sick, but most of my friends will drink it in the dinning hall. Also the unlimited refilled drinks in the fast food restaurants unintentionally encourage customers to drink as much as they can.
    A few weeks ago, I read an article about the amount of sugar or say HFCS in the sodas drink today. The research said that over 40 grams of sugar in the coke will make people feel sick, so the producer have to add some else chemicals to prevent that kinds of feeling (I can’t remember the name of that chemical now). The addictive in the pop can be really detrimental to health.

    • Thank you for the comment! Interestingly, most of my friends enjoy diet pops (like drinking diet coke is a new trend or something like that). Although drinking diet pops prevent people from having too much sugar, the amount of caffeine in them is even higher than the regular pops.
      I am wondering how the chemical that you talked about successfully blinds our sense so that our natural protection system fails to report the existence of extra sugar in pops? I would love to read more about that and share with you. 🙂

  2. Growing up I was never allowed to have soda, so by the time I was able to choose for myself I just didn’t like the taste. I think that that’s the best way to avoid drinking soda because it can be addictive if you grow up drinking it. Kids don’t need to have that much sugar in their systems. The problems associated with adults drinking soda are just amplified in kids because they are smaller. Fast food places make it hard for parents to deny their kids soda because they are often included in kid’s meals. Americans have a difficult time turning down free things, so parents let their kids get soda which leads to them liking it and wanting it more often.

    • I absolutely agree with your point. Pops are never my top options because they are too sweet. The amount of caffeine added in pops can easily make adults become addicted, and the impact is greater on children. I have volunteered at several tutoring/mentor programs, and one thing that we always emphasize is that we keep children as far away from pops as possible because caffeine and excess sugar makes them emotional and more aggressive.

  3. About a year ago, I transitioned from regular sodas to diet sodas in an attempt to avoid the negative effects of high calories and high levels of sugar such as those demonstrated in your blog post. This wasn’t such a good idea in retrospect– as bad as high fructose corn syrup is for you, aspartame or saccharin is likely even worse. Do you know how many of the five reasons you listed above apply to diet sodas?

    • Switching from regular pops to diet pops is definitely the first step. I guess switching to diet pops can in a way prevent obesity resulted from the excess sugar. However, Osteoporosis, dental problems and kidney stones are connected more tightly with the fact that pops are carbonated drinks than that they contain too much sugar. Also, diet pops normally have more caffeine than the normal ones – which is the reason why diet pops addiction often can be more severe. I would say that there are many healthy drinks out there. Maybe you can explore some other options and post your personal feelings about all those different drinks? 🙂

  4. Shame to mention that, but it is the first time I know that “sodas” are also called “pops” in the United States. I used to enjoy “pops” such as Coke and Sprite, but luckily, I have changed to drink water instead because I began to realize the negative effects of drinking “pops”. There is a large amount of sugar in the pops, which are very fattening. Many people choose to drink diet “pops”, but I do not think these pops are actually zero calories. In my opinion, drinking juice may be a better choice than drinking “pops”.

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