Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why Soft Drinks Do Not Contain Sugar

I was at the supermarket yesterday and I saw a display of Mountain Dew Throw-back, which turns out to be Mountain Dew made with real sugar.

This made me think of why most companies no longer use sugar in producing soft drinks, a fact which may have been forgotten through the years .

Since 1951 my Dad owned a grocery store. And since he owned a store, the pantry in my home was seldom empty and we always had plenty of Pop. In this part of the country most people use the term Soft Drinks, rather than Pop.

As a child Pop/Soft Drinks were made with sugar. Good ol' cane sugar, which gave your young self lots of energy and the bonus of a marvelous sugar buzz.

This era was the days of the Cold War. A time in history when angry threats, veiled political remarks and inuendo between the United States and the United Socialist Soviet Republic aka Russia were made on a daily basis.

Nikita Krushchev promised to bury us by pounding his shoe on the U.N. podium. We all learned how to Duck and Cover when the Nukes hit and declared it was better to be dead, than red. Our elementary school was declared a Fall-Out shelter, a fact we were reminded of this fact every school day as we walked to the cafeteria and saw the large yellow sign with black letters announcing Fall Out Shelter. We kids all had visions of scurrying the family 3 blocks to the school when Walt Cronkite announced the commies were dropping bombs on Cincinnati.

I learned there was an Iron Curtain, which was an allegory. At five years of age, no one had explained to me what was an allegory.

I'm certain if someone used the word in a sentence I would have assumed they were refering to a small alligator. I was certain there was an actual Iron Curtain. I wanted to see it. I was very curious why no one showed any pictures of it on TV. Even if it was a black and white image on the old Zenith, I would have enjoyed seeing this Iron Curtain. Someday I'll tell you about my childhood thoughts on Human Beans.

So to quit digressing and get to the point allow me to continue.

Fidel Castro had appointed himself President for life of Cuba.

He had fought off the evil people that wanted a democracy in Cuba and as a reward for turning Cuba into a Communistic nation with downtrodden masses and government run industry Castro was appointed Dictator in Chief forever.

Leading up to those years, Cuba had been controlled by the U.S. Mafia who ran many casinoes. So Cuba was a nation funded by gambling. Unfortunately for the Mafia, Castro took control of all the casinoes, shutting down the organization's source of revenue and eliminating many jobs.

Cuba was also one of the largest sugar producing nations in the world.

Castro, being a commie, sided with Russia and launched an attempte to allow the Soviets to store nuclear missles in Cuba. I don't know if I mentioned that Cuba is a mere 90 miles away from the United States. Life in the early 1960's became pretty nasty. A debacle arose between the United States and Cuba. President Kennedy was ready to drop the Big One. Check it out by Googling Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missle Crisis.

Missle site in Cuba circa 1962
An embargo was put in place and trade with Cuba was halted. This stopped the importation raw cane sugar from that country. The Pepsi-cola and Coca-cola and all the other pop companies panicked. The five cent Coke or Pepsi doubled in price. Sugar producing states could not cover the need and besides, these states mostly produced beet sugar rather than the preferable cane sugar. The result was sugar prices skyrocketing. Dropping the Big One seemed like a good idea, since sugar was in short supply.

There were no sugar substitutes until 1965 when some scientist came up with aspertame. It was sold in a bottle as a colorless liquid and it just tasted awful.

So the Soft Drink industry needed to come up with a solution and come up with it quickly. They settled on Corn Syrup. Corn was plentiful and could be turned into a sweet tasting syrup. Infants of the day were raised on Karo syrup as a part of homemade baby formula.

Thus begun our dependency on corn. And even now that raw cane sugar is plentiful in the U.S. and from other nations, the Soft Drink companies continues to rely on corn syrup as a basis for sweetening, due to its low cost for soft drinks.

Some folks say High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for us and that it makes us fat. I do not know.


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