Food is Medicine
The ultimate goal of the physician should be to promote balance and teach patients and students how to live in a manner which will promote balance and wellness. I believe that we need to cultivate four aspects of our lives if we are to succeed in that goal: what we eat, how we sleep, how we move and oxygenate our bodies, and how we nourish our spirits.
This article will be the first in a series of what and how to not to eat, as well as what and how we should eat. I choose specifically to mention what not to eat first, following the guidance of King David, who says in Tehillim (34:15): “Turn away from evil, and do good,” teaching us to first eliminate that which harms us. Concerning how one eats, the Rambam says in Hilchos Deyos (3:2): “One should set one’s heart to eat…things that are beneficial to the body, whether they are sweet or bitter, and not eat things that are harmful the body, even though they may be sweet to the palate.”
Kick the Can
So with that introduction, my first recommendation of a substance to avoid would be good old-fashioned, Coca-Cola (Well maybe not so old-fashioned: The original Coke contained cocaine, thus its name, and even as a kid, in the late 50s, it was known that if someone wanted to ditch school, an instant fever could be produced by drinking a bottle of Coke with 2 aspirins!). The main ingredients in a 12 oz. can of Coke are carbonated water (from carbon dioxide, the waste product that we breath out), 39 grams of sugar (more than 8 teaspoons), natural flavors, caramel color, about 50 mg of phosphoric acid, and about 35 mg of caffeine.
Upon drinking a can of coke, more than 8 teaspoons (39 grams) of sugar hit your system. The liver and pancreas respond to this rush of simple carbohydrates by turning them into fat. The caffeine causes the pupils to dilate and the blood pressure to rise which in turn causes the liver to release more sugar into the bloodstream. The caffeine also blocks the adenosine receptors to the brain preventing drowsiness and is an excitotoxin, killing brain cells by stimulates the dopamine and pleasure centers of the brain.
The phosphoric acid chelates (binds to): calcium, magnesium and zinc in the small intestine; and the diuretic action of the caffeine causes these minerals to be excreted by the urine, leading to osteomalacia and osteoporosis. And this is all about REGULAR COKE. What about Diet Coke? Stay tuned….