Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Healthy Sodas

Coke and Pepsi are going to introduce vitamin-fortified "healthy sodas" this summer.

I guess a coke with vitamins is better than a regular coke, but you could still probably do better. This is one of those items that falls into the "don't eat food that makes health claims" category: while fortified industrial products are better for you than regular industrial products, you'd probably do better to drink a glass of milk or fresh juice. Or, if you want something fizzy, a nice traditional beer.

As Shakespeare said, "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Foods are the same way....there are hundreds or even thousands of different compounds in real foods. Some of them may well be good (or bad) for you, but it's hard to isolate those effects. Some of them are also probably only good for you in concert with other compounds in the food, so isolating just one or two doesn't help all that much.

The key to good eating is to be conservative (or maybe "traditionalist," if the other term offends your sensibilities). Stick with what has worked for thousands of years, and you won't go far wrong. Food isn't new, but widespread obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are. So are refined sugar, processed flour, and the idea that we can improve on food with the Awesome Power of Science.

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