In general, I try really hard not to give unsolicited advice, but I have been on my dad’s case to stop drinking soda for years. I want to kick myself every time I hear something come out of my mouth like, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you when you have to get your foot amputated due to complications from diabetes.” Not cool. My comments come from a place of love, but it sounds like mean nagging.

We all have our stuff. For example, I chew gum after every meal—and sometimes in between. It would be very, very hard for me to stop. I would need to carry a toothbrush around in my pocket (not the worst idea, but still), and even then, I would probably still get twitchy. I rely on chewing gum to freshen my breath, clean my teeth, and deal with stress at work.

I know that telling someone not to do something that is a part of their daily life is not an effective way to inspire change, but as you can see, I know firsthand how hard it is not to speak up when your emotions get involved—and how hard it is to give up something you love and/or feel like you need.

Still, I can’t get over the fact that my dad’s doctor told him that a soda a day was okay. I’m sure this doctor is a smart guy, but doctors receive very little nutrition education. In the way that dietitians are not experts in medicine, doctors are not experts in nutrition. Calorie-for-calorie, yes, you can argue that a person can make room for a serving of regular soda each day, but it’s hard for many people to account for liquid calories. This is to say nothing of the various chemicals and colorings that aren’t doing anyone any favors. I can’t help feeling that a doctor telling someone with a family history of diabetes that a soda a day is okay is kind of like a nutritionist telling someone with alcoholism in their background that drinking alcohol on the regular and taking acetaminophen for hangovers is a good idea.

photo from Thought Pursuits

Oh, and then there are all the practical uses for coke that make it hard to justify putting it into your body. For example, I have vivid childhood memories of my dad using it to get rust off of golf clubs. It wasn’t until years later that I thought, “Well, s***. Why do we drink that? Yikes!” But hey, I ask myself all the time why I chew on minty little sticks of artificial sweetener, and I still do it…

What do you think about a soda a day? 

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