Kelly Coons ’22 | Assistant Opinions Editor
I like doing nothing. Work is, well, work. If I can do something by doing nothing, that’s a deal in my book, so what if I told you there was an effortless way to save $994 a year?
Let’s break that number down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an obese individual costs the American healthcare system an average of $132. The nonprofit FAIR Health reports that the average resin composite filling for a front tooth costs $155. The biggest chunk of this number — the remaining $657 — is what finance blog MoneyAhoy calculated as the average amount an American family of four spends on soda.
Whoa, that can’t be right, right? Soda can’t be that important. Actually, MoneyAhoy’s estimate doesn’t fully explain the scope of America’s soda addiction. In 2017, The Huffington Post compiled several studies on the amount of soda Americans purchased. One of their most shocking discoveries was a 2016 U.S. Department of Agriculture report — In 2011, households across all socioeconomic backgrounds spent the most money on soda. Zooming in on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) households, the USDA disclosed that in 2016, 9.3% of money spent on food was attributed to soda. That same report found that non-SNAP households only spent a little less on soda: 7.1% of their grocery budget. That’s right: 7% of the average American’s grocery budget is spent on something that isn’t a necessary part of one’s diet.
In fact, it’s not just unnecessary, soda is also terrible for your health. The Harvard School of Public Health found that drinking one or two cans of soda every day makes you 26% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than those who don’t drink soda regularly. They also reported that drinking soda increases your risk of having a heart attack. Have you ever heard of gout? If you don’t drink a can of soda every day, you won’t need to. If you do, watch out: You are at a 75% greater risk for learning about it the hard way.
Something you surely know about is the pain of dental procedures. Healthline explains that soda both erodes teeth enamel and damages the next layer, dentin, making teeth extremely vulnerable to damage and infection. The Wisconsin Dental Association reports that the acid in soda attacks teeth for 20 minutes, and this attack begins anew for every sip you take. It’s why their catchphrase is “Sip All Day, Get Decay!”
You know what kind of rhymes with that, though? Don’t delay, stop drinking soda today! So let’s promote more positive, proactive catchphrase: “Don’t delay, stop drinking soda today!”