Cola addiction? No, but drinker beware

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Cola addiction? No, but drinker beware

Every day, the world drinks 1 billion cups of cola. The drink is so popular, people have been diagnosed as having “cola addictions.” The average Korean consumes 32 cups of cola every year.
The first cola to have been marketed it still the most popular: Coca-Cola. An American pharmacist named John Pemberton created the drink in May, 1886, and sold it at a drug store. At that time, the main ingredients were juices from coca tree leaves and cola tree fruits.
Coke contains cola concentrate, carbon dioxide, sweetener, phosphoric acid and caramel, which is responsible for the drink’s rusty-brown color.
Most colas have phosphoric acid (17 milligrams per 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces, of cola), so teeth and fish bones will melt n 30 to 40 days if placed in the concoction. Phosphoric acid, which is also found in cheese and peanuts, is what gives the fizzy drink its punch.
While it’s bad for the teeth, it’s hardly a serious threat. For your teeth to melt in cola, you would have to keep your mouth full of the liquid for several days.
Cola can cause cavities, however, because of its large amount of sugar. Numerous cavity-causing germs in the mouth produce acid with sugar in foods and the acid melt enamel that protects teeth.
“After drinking soft drinks, people should brush their teeth,” said Yun Tae-cheol, a dentist. “Biscuits, rice cakes (known as tteok) and donuts are more harmful to teeth.”
A 250-milligram can of cola contains 24 milligrams of caffeine, a third of the amount of caffeine in the same amount of brewed coffee and half the caffeine found in green tea. Though the amount of caffeine in cola is smaller than the maximum amount of caffeine in soft drinks allowed by the Food & Drug Administration (0.2 milligram per 1 milliliter), people who are sensitive to caffeine or those who drink it as well as coffee and tea can experience nervousness, insomnia and a rise in blood pressure.
But is it really addictive?
“Addiction involves severe withdrawal symptoms after suddenly stopping the intake of such things as alcohol, tobacco and narcotics,” said Kim Chang-ki, a pediatric psychiatrist. “Cola addiction is an exaggerated expression.”
Drinking too much cola can also lead to weight gain. A can of cola has 100 kilocalories, about the same amount as an ice cream cone, five crackers and two pieces of seaweed rolls. It takes 20 minutes of walking, playing tennis and biking to burn 100 kilocalories, or 17 minutes of playing basketball or soccer, swimming or hiking.
A can of cola contains 27 grams of sugar. Sugar is a very common cooking ingredient, but in large amounts, it will turn into fat and can cause obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Those who are overweight should avoid cola, or at least drink diet cola, which has zero to 5 kilocalories.
Coca-Cola’s manufacturing method is universal, but its taste differs from country to country, mainly due to the differences in local water quality.
Cola is said to taste best at a temperature of 4 degrees centigrade (39 degrees Fahrenheit), but should be drunk immediately after opening the cap ― the carbon dioxide will fizz its way out of the drink within two minutes.

by Park Tae-kyun
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