From Biosis 10, May 2006
“Water or Coke?” Some Facts…
Recently, we received the following e-mail. Maybe you received it, too. It seems to be making the online rounds these days. All errors are in the original text.
WATER OR COKE?
- 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
- In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
- Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%.
- One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
- Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
- Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
- A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or printed page.
- Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
And now for the properties of COKE:
- In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol carries two gallons of coke in the truck to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.
- You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of coke and it will be gone in two days.
- To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the ‘real thing’ sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous China.
- To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
- To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
- To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.
- To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.
- To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.
- It will also clean road haze from your windshield.
For Your Info:
- The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
- To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous material place cards reserved for Highly corrosive materials.
- The distributors of coke have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!
Now the question is, would you like a coke or a glass of water?
Now, whenever we get an e-mail like this, our first response is always: Is it legit? A quick Internet search reveals some misleading elements in this one.
For starters, there is just no evidence to support the claims about highway patrol usage, the need for hazardous material placards or distributors systematically cleaning their engines with Coke. According to the Urban Legends Reference Pages’ entry on this “Cokelore,”  most of the remaining items about the soda seem to come from the 1995 book of household tips Polish Your Furniture with Panty Hose. Even so, while the carbonic acid in Coke may act as a cleanser, the ingredient isn’t unique to Coke. It is used in almost all carbonated soft drinks, as are phosphoric and citric acids. Nor are any of these acids caustic in the dilutions mentioned. In fact, the gastric acid in your stomach is much more powerful!
By contrasting these details with facts about water, the e-mail is meant to remind us that water is healthy and Coke is not. But we don’t need any misleading comparison to tell us this. Scientific research has made it repeatedly clear that, altogether, the acids, sugars and additives in soda can be harmful to teeth and oral tissues. The sugars are especially damaging, feeding the biofilm that forms on your teeth between meals and contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. They are also major contributors to obesity and diabetes.
At the same time, the phosphoric acid does interfere with calcium uptake and retention, and so over time can have a negative effect on bone health, and in children, bone growth. Other evidence points to a variety of additives interfering with the uptake and retention of B vitamins. These are true for both full-sugared and sugar-free versions of soda.
Suffice it to say, there are good reasons why recommendations  (PDF) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition rate soda as the least preferred beverage for ensuring sufficient hydration – even less than alcohol! And what’s the most preferred? Water, of course!
Water is a vital constituent of health. It is the basis for life. Your body needs it to perform a host of metabolic functions, from waste removal to fat oxidation. Not only do we need to daily replace the water we lose through sweat, urine and feces – we also need it to maintain ongoing functions in our bodies. It also helps ensure full and optimum nutrient uptake.
Conventional wisdom says we need eight glasses of water daily. This can be a good guide, but it’s not necessarily gospel truth. For instance, your diet will have a say in how much water you need to drink, since we get much of the water we need from vegetables, fruits and beverages other than water. Individual needs may also differ due to metabolism rate, activity level and other variables.
In addition to the quantity of water you drink, you should also ensure that the water is of good quality. Quality water will never contain fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals or other toxins. It should contain vital trace minerals. Filtered tap water is usually sufficient, or bottled spring or mineral water if necessary. You may find it beneficial to add a homeopathic like Hydration to your water source, which can aid your body in efficiently and effectively using the water you give it.
By drinking water and eating a diet rich in vegetables and moderate in fruit, you’ll get enough fluid for your body to do its living and for you to feel good. You don’t need a misleading comparison to know the virtues of water. But if it serves as a reminder, it can’t be all bad.