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That fizzy feeling, and the lure of soft drinks
Published in Daily News Egypt on 02 - 06 - 2007

Since he was a child, Mohanad, now 23, has been addicted to different types of soda, sometimes consuming several liters a day. Little did he know that one day this habit would come back to haunt him as an adult.
After a visit to the doctor, Mohanad discovered that his health problems were mostly related to the huge amounts of soda he drank.
"The doctors told me to stop having any immediately because I developed tooth decay as well as bone problems. I never knew soft drinks could be so harmful, he says.
And Mohanad is not alone.
Many other patients reportedly suffer from illnesses caused mainly by the craze for these bubbly drinks, which, thanks to global market mechanisms, are on every billboard, TV ad and supermarket sticker wherever you go.
The issue of soft drinks highlights the dilemma of an open market economy, whereby some might be aware of the problems related to the use of certain products, while others remain in the dark.
Unlike drug addiction and the abuse certain pharmaceutical products with serious side-effects, people choose to look the other way when it comes to soda.
Despite warnings by specialists against side effects ranging from obesity, bone and tooth problems to damaged blood cells, and caffeine-addiction, most people are reluctant to change their bad habits.
Hala is a case in point. Married with two kids, she has been living in the US for the past 14 years, yet she doesn't seem to mind allowing her girls to wash down meals with a can or two of brand soda even when the anti-soda campaigns in the US have triggered ripples in both media and health circles.
And since kids seem to be the biggest consumers of the drinks, related studies warned that those 'heavy drinkers' are more likely to become drug-addicts and alcoholics in their adulthood.
So should we call it laziness or indifference? Perhaps because the ill effects of soft drinks, like smoking, are only felt on the long term, people tend to put it on the bottom of their priority list. It is human nature. One might also argue that provided you know that a Tsunami or an earthquake is hitting the globe, what can you do to save yourself if it is bound to take everyone in its wake?
It is still hard to imagine why anyone would voluntarily gulp large quantities of citric acid (a main ingredient of soda drinks) when it is known that it's used to remove rust stains, and is even sometimes used by dry cleaners.


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