Sugar Alert – Health Halo

By Dean L. Jones, CPM

Drinking more water to help quench our thirst is common this time of year, which is why we need to stay sugar alert when choosing to drink flavored bottled beverages.  These products are often associated with being nutritionally good for you, where some go so far as to claim to replace electrolytes or replace vital minerals and vitamins that the body looses during exercising regimes.    Such claims can sound so compelling where the drink seems to be heaven sent.  That notwithstanding the ingredients added to flavored bottled waters may have a propagandized health halo which should perhaps instead be more like an evil eye.

It should not come as no surprise that flavored bottled drinks acquire a favorable taste simply because the makers have added processed sugar and/or other unnatural ingredients.  Unfortunately, you might think that the clever name and marketing game for Glaceau Vitamin Water or other flavored waters make it a healthy alternative to that of drinking say a soda or concentrated fruit juice.  Sadly, one bottle of Glaceau Vitamin Water consist of 125 calories and 32.5 grams of processed sugar, which is 2 more teaspoons of sugar than the American Heart Association recommends a women consume per day.

daily limit

A different flavored drink also produced by Coca-Cola is Dasani that adds only four ingredients including water, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, and salt.  By adding salt seems to me that it will make you more thirsty versus thirst quenching, but that is just my best guess, so go figure.  Nonetheless, the ingredient magnesium sulfate is more commonly called Epsom salts, which has a considerably high number of internal and external uses from foot baths to soothe sore feet, a coagulant for making tofu, a brewing salt in beer production, and even commonly used as a laxative in other products.

Those three ingredients I sort of understand, however using potassium chloride is one of those ingredients that really is hard to explain.  The reason being is that this ingredient is directly used to stop the heart from beating during lethal injection.  Yes, preciously the same practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing the immediate death of the person sentenced by the judicial system to die.  First comes sodium thiopental to render unconsciousness, second comes pancuronium or tubocurarine to stop all muscle movement except the heart.  Right after muscle paralysis and before asphyxiation, the same potassium chloride is injected to stop the heart from beating, and therefore cease life as we know it.  Clearly flavored drink makers do not add the same amount of this ingredient as a dose of lethal injection, although it does offer food for thought.

www.SugarAlert.com

Dean Jones, Ethics Advocate, Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), contributes his view on health attributes of packaged foods & beverages.