Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew is one of the most damaging drinks to the body in my opinion. Everything from high sugar levels to caffeine to preservatives and brominated vegetable oil make it a health zapping product. There is also some controversy regarding the safety of the sodium benzoate.

PepsiCo lists their ingredients in Mt Dew as:

Carbonated water
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Concentrated orange juice and other natural flavors
Citric acid
Sodium benzoate (preserves freshness)
Caffeine (55.2 mg per 12 oz.)
Sodium citrate
Gum arabic
Erythorbic acid (preserves freshness)
Calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)
Brominated vegetable oil
Yellow 5

High Fructose Corn Syrup(HFCS) - The majority of HFCS is made from genetically engineered corn.  This is a corn syrup that has undergone an enzymatic process to increase its fructose level. Then it is mixed with pure corn syrup (100% glucose) to arrive at its final form. High fructose corn syrup can be manipulated to contain equal amounts of fructose and glucose, or up to 80 percent fructose and 20 percent glucose. Thus, with almost twice the fructose, HFCS delivers double the risk compared to sugar.

Ingestion of fructose increases uric acid levels. Increases in uric acid levels
have been linked to heart disease. It also raises levels of lactic acid. Very high levels in the body can be serious or even life-threatening.

A high sucrose diet may alter intracellular metabolism. This will accelerate
aging because of the oxidative damage it produces. Scientists have found that rats given fructose had changes in the collagen of their skin. [1]

Fructose is metabolized by the liver so the pancreas does not produce the
normal amount of insulin. The fructose more readily converts to fat than other sugars which may be the reason why we are seeing an increase in obesity. If you check the labels of most products you will be shocked to see most contain high fructose corn syrup.  Fructose raises triglyceride levels significantly.

It has damaging effects when the person is copper deficient because it inhibits copper metabolism which can be accompanied by a wide variety of issues like anemia, connective tissue issues, heart attacks, high cholesterol and an inability to control blood sugar. Low levels of copper have also been linked to thyroid disorders.

These are the Nutritional Facts for a can of Mt Dew. Notice the number of
grams of sugar. If you would like to know how many teaspoons this equates to take the number and divide it by 4. ( 46 / 4 = 11.5 teaspoons of sugar.) But keep in mind that this is not sugar - it is HFCS and that is almost twice the fructose of sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 12 fl oz / 335 mL
Amount per Serving
Calories 170 Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 70mg 3%
Potassium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 15%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 46g
Protein 0g 0%

Your immune system also takes a hit with the high levels of sugar in the blood stream. The ingestion of sugar begins to inhibit the immune system in less than 30 minutes and continues for 6 hours. Some studies are now showing that to some degree it affects the body for up to 36 hours. If you think about how often sugar is consumed by the average person you will soon realize that we are in a constant immunosuppressed state. Most believe their immune system only comes into play for colds and flu but in fact, it goes much deeper for chronic health conditions and cancer.

Sodium benzoate- A preservative found in many soft drinks that has the ability to deactivate parts of DNA and eventually cause diseases such as Parkinson's and cirrhosis of the liver. Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at Sheffield University, after studying it for 8 years
found that the preservative seriously damages living cells. Sodium benzoate was found to damage the mitochondria of the cells. These organelles are your "power houses". They give the cell (and you) energy. Mitochondria consume oxygen for energy and if you damage these, diseases will set in.

Caffeine - This has become American's drug of choice. It is how we function from day to day and get the energy we need. The mechanism of how this works is to increase adrenaline into the blood stream. Where does this come from?  The adrenals. Eventually being in this fight or flight status will cause them to become fatigued. These glands are the marathon runners not the sprinters. Unfortunately overtaxing them for energy will cause hormone levels to drop because a fatigued gland will not operate at optimum levels. Lowered sex hormones, low libido, infertility and more will come as a result of this. In the long run overuse of caffeine causes fatigue which will fuel the need for more caffeine and the vicious cycle begins. At 55.2 mgs per 12 ounces, Mt Dew packs a wallop. I know very few people who consume just 12 ounces. With the big gulps and supersized drinks, amounts consumed can be upwards of 48 oz which gives 4 times the amount or 200.8 mgs of caffeine and 46 teaspoons of sugar.

Brominated Vegetable Oil(BVO) - is a vegetable oil that has atoms of elemental bromine bonded to it. It is used in Mt Dew as an emulsifier (stabilizes the combining of two *unblendable* substances). It is what gives drinks that cloudy look. In this case it helps keep fat-soluable citrus flavorings suspended in the drink.

Long after consumption, traces of BVO will remain and can be found in the tissues. Bromide is a halide which has been shown to inhibit thyroid function by blocking the uptake of iodine. When in an iodine deficient state and bromine is supplied, the thyroid gland will take it in because it's *appears* to be a close substitute for iodine. A century ago potassium bromide was used as a sedative. The following is a list (although not inclusive) of what bromide toxicity can do.

Abdominal cramps
Blurred vision
Constricted pupils
Cyanosis (skin blueness)
Heart beat malfunction
Tremors of the tongue and eyelids
Muscular cramps
Respiratory difficulty
Slow pulse

There's no telling just how much bromide is contained in this product but in my opinion any amount is too much for me. If you are not taking in high doses of iodine with this product you are setting yourself up for some major health issues. Even with iodine there is still a risk. We are only beginning to understand the levels of iodine required to push out bromide. If detoxification pathways are compromised it may be difficult to remove this toxin from the body.

Yellow Dye #5(Tartrazine) - This product has been banned for usage in Norway, Austria and Germany. It is extracted from coal tar. Tartrazine seems to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all the azo dyes. Symptoms of this can include anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. Other symptoms include asthma and mild rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passageways mostly with discharge). [2]

Acidic pH Levels- All soft drinks share a common issue. They are highly acidic. The pH level of Mt Dew is 3.3. Pure water is 7.0 which is the level your body seeks to maintain for optimum health. Consuming a product that is highly acidic begins a rather destructive process in your body. Your blood must maintain a pH level of approx 7.1. If it does not you will suffer destructive consequences. If it varies greatly from this level you will die within a matter of minutes. So in an effort to maintain a healthy pH your body does everything in its power to balance it. When you consume these highly acidic drinks your body has a game plan for buffering the acidity. The way it accomplishes this is to use alkaline minerals. It does this by pulling from your skeletal system utilizing minerals like calcium and magnesium. It then releases them into your bloodstream to counteract the acidity. This is how your body keeps you alive.

Each time you drink a soft drink you are taking vital nutrients from your bones and forgoing a few grams of bone density.

So in summary - these are the product *benefits* -
1) Acidic pH levels that leach minerals from your bones
2) High acid levels and sugar destroy teeth
3) High fructose causes hit to the pancreas, spikes glucose and causes weight gain.
4) Increases uric and lactic acid levels which increases disease risk.
5) Raises triglyceride levels
6) Inhibits copper metabolism
7) Contains 11.5 teaspoons of sugar per 12 oz serving.
8) Suppresses your immune system anywhere from 6-36 hours
9) Contains sodium benzoate which deactivates parts of DNA and destroys
mitochondria function thus inducing fatigue and other diseases.
10) High levels of caffeine tax the adrenal glands which lower immune resistance and hormone levels over time.
11) Brominated Vegetable Oil contributes to lower thyroid function through displacement of iodine and also creates bromide toxicity which has been tied to cancer among other degenerative diseases.
12) Yellow Dye #5 can contribute to allergic reactions. Allergies kick up
inflammation. Google chronic inflammation and you will see all the negative
aspects of doing this to your body.

Remember that for most of us this is only one component of our total lifestyle. We are bombarded with chemical toxins, preservatives, dyes and more in everything we come in contact with. So one thing on its own may not seem too bad but in combination and over time it can be lethal.

[1] Roger B. Mc Donald, Influence of Dietary Sucrose on Biological Aging,
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62 (suppl), (1995): 284s-293s

[2] K Miller, Sensitivity to Tartrazine, Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1982 December
4; 285(6355): 1597–1598.