Pop, Soda or Coke; it doesn’t matter what you call it.  Soda pop is a sugary, chemical liquid that Americans are addicted to and consume at a high rate. Americans drink twice as many soft drinks than they did 30 years ago.  Soda Pop (or carbonated soft drinks) has an alarming amount of sugar, calories and additives in it that have absolutely no nutritional value at all.

When I was in high school, there were several soda pop machines in the building. During my senior year, I would buy a can of Mountain Dew or Pepsi in the morning before classes, at lunch, and then after school. I had a minimum of 3 cans a day at that time in my life. I was fairly thin and my diet was not healthy. I had fast metabolism and could anything which included a lot of carbs, sugar, and greasy foods. The year I turned 18, I started to get hives on my ankles and wrists. I had no idea what was causing it. Eventually, the hives grew and covered my torso, legs and arms. The hives itched and looked terrible.  I felt like an alien and had to wear long sleeves and pants in the summer to hide the ugly welts on my body.

I had many tests with the doctor to find out what was causing this reaction. They tested my blood, my skin, and my stool and still did not have an answer to my horrible hive problem. Finally, my doctor suggested an elimination diet.  I would eliminate one common food a day and see if the hives would disappear. The day I eliminated soda was the day I was hive-free. Finally we were getting some answers, but what was it in the soda? My boyfriend (now my husband) helped me write down all of the chemicals and foreign substances that were listed on the side of my soda can. I could drink Sprite or 7-Up and not get the hives.  What was different?

One day I ate a tootsie roll and BAM! The hives returned. What was in Pepsi that was also in a Tootsie Roll? Caramel. I discovered I was allergic to caramel and caramel coloring. I ate caramel my entire life. Why was I allergic now? I believe I developed an allergy to caramel and caramel coloring because my body couldn’t take all of the soda pop I drank. I no longer drink it. I drink water, coffee, and green tea. Many Americans drink soda like it is water, and I hope to keep my children from doing the same. We let them drink soda very rarely and of course when they get a taste of it they go crazy. They love it. I try to remind them there is no nutritional value in soda. Maybe someday they will listen.

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