My Coke Habit

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Although a more image-oriented food blogger might try to hide this ugly and potentially reputation-destroying truth from the world, I'm just going to come right out and say it - I'm addicted to Coke.

No, not the illicit white powder, silly... I mean the tooth-rottingly-sweet softdrink.

However, since Coke and the vast majority of other American sodas are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which I find yucky on so many levels - gustatorially, environmentally, politically, and economically, I am making an effort to give up soda altogether.
As the makers of the documentary, King Corn have pointed out, I am basically made of corn already -- there's really no need to add any more! A Bottle Of Mexican Coke

But I do indulge my weakness for a sweet, caramel-colored, carbonated beverage with the occasional Mexican Coke.

I first encountered Mexican Coke back at the tender age of 12 on our first real family vacation to (you guessed it!) Mexico.

The first few days were great - I played in the waves with my big brother and lapped up the sunshine and the exotic greenery, both of which were in short supply back in upstate New York in January. But Montezuma (that bastard!) would have his revenge so I spent the rest of the trip getting intimately acquainted with the bathroom in our hotel room.

The few bright spots in my week of diarrhea-induced haze were the delicious glass bottles of Coca-Cola my mom would allow me to have from time to time.

I've always remembered those Cokes tasting particularly wonderful but did not realize why until a year or two ago. The reason is simple and sweet -- cane sugar. Mexican Coke is sweetened the "old-fashioned" way--with cane sugar--like all American sodas were until the manufacturers switched to high fructose corn syrup in the 1980s to cut costs. Corn syrup may be cheaper, but cane sugar sure tastes better- it has a cleaner, lighter, purer sweetness than corn syrup.

Pure Cane Sugar, Baby!

The other reason Mexican Coke tastes better is that it comes in lovely thick glass bottles with a slight blue-green tint. It may sound improbable, but I think soda actually tastes better from a glass bottle than it does from a plastic bottle or a can. I also feel better about drinking from a glass bottle because it can be reused or fully recyled, unlike a can or plastic bottle.

Ahhh, Muy Refrescante...

As this story in the San Diego Union Tribune attests, I am not the only one who prefers the old-fashioned Mexican Coke to the corny American one. The difference in taste is so obvious to all who try the Mexican version that Coca-Cola U.S. has actually been trying to block the import of Mexican Coke into the U.S. for several years now! Pretty pathetic, huh?

While I will stop short of actually encouraging anyone to drink Coke, if you have to have it once in a while, buy the Mexican kind. Lo que es hecho en Mexico es mucho mejor! (Did I butcher that?) Just don't make it a habit since Mexican Coke does contain a TON of sugar and also requires a good amount of gas to ship here to the U.S.

If you're concerned about your carbon footprint, there are several soda makers here in the U.S. that have caught on to the appeal of cane sugar.
Boylan Bottling Co. produces a number of cane sugar-sweetened sodas and Jones Sodas actually made the switch from high fructose corn syrup to cane sugar about one year ago in response to customer demand. Trader Joe's also carries a brand of softdrinks called Hansens that switched to cane sugar last month after receiving requests from customers. And there is one lone bottling company located in Dublin, TX that produces Dr. Pepper sweetened with pure cane sugar (they call it Dublin Dr. Pepper.)

8 comments:

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Growing up, I drank multiple Cokes a day. At some point, I switched to Diet Cokes; then my doctor told me that was probably causing some stomach problems I was having. (Turns out fake sweeteners are really acidic---not that normal Coke isn't, either!) I cut out sodas altogether for quite a while (several years), and now Coke tastes like syrup to me. I'll occasionally drink another type of soda (like the Boylan kind), but it fills me up quickly, and I usually only want half a bottle.

The change is pretty amazing since my family always drank Coke like it was milk or water. People's tastes really can change with time! Good for you for working on changing up your habit.

Nadia said...

Hmm, this may explain why I loved drinking Coke on my visits to see family in Syria as a kid, but never liked Coke in the U.S. I knew it tasted better over there!

becca said...

I love coke too! I'm glad I'm not alone in my secret habit ... although I did make myself switch to Diet (and now Coke Zero) and I'm trying to cut back.

And yes, coke in Latin America is way way better - it's totally partly the glass.

Barbara said...

Hi Eve,
Coke in India is ALSO made with real sugar! Yum.

jennconspiracy said...

...and... coke bottled in Mexico is up in a much higher altitude so the carbonation comes out all different after it's shipped.

Holy moly - I mean - seriously - open up a coke like that while you're IN Mexico City? Everything is 1 billion times more fizzier and explodes no matter how long the bottle has sat still.

Jim Whalen said...

The Coke label you depict denotes sugar; NOT cane sugar.
"Cane sugar" is specific whereas "sugar"could be fructose.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Jim, that is true but everything I've ever read about Mexican coke indicates that it is, in fact, sweetened with cane sugar - maybe cane sugar is just easier to obtain in Mexico than other parts of the world? I've also noticed that fructose is usually called fructose on nutritional labels though maybe that is somewhat arbitrary/voluntary on the part of the company providing the information?

Eve Fox said...

Just googled again as I was curious and everything I see says it's sweetened with cane sugar. Just one example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Coke

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Coke Habit

Although a more image-oriented food blogger might try to hide this ugly and potentially reputation-destroying truth from the world, I'm just going to come right out and say it - I'm addicted to Coke.

No, not the illicit white powder, silly... I mean the tooth-rottingly-sweet softdrink.

However, since Coke and the vast majority of other American sodas are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which I find yucky on so many levels - gustatorially, environmentally, politically, and economically, I am making an effort to give up soda altogether.
As the makers of the documentary, King Corn have pointed out, I am basically made of corn already -- there's really no need to add any more! A Bottle Of Mexican Coke

But I do indulge my weakness for a sweet, caramel-colored, carbonated beverage with the occasional Mexican Coke.

I first encountered Mexican Coke back at the tender age of 12 on our first real family vacation to (you guessed it!) Mexico.

The first few days were great - I played in the waves with my big brother and lapped up the sunshine and the exotic greenery, both of which were in short supply back in upstate New York in January. But Montezuma (that bastard!) would have his revenge so I spent the rest of the trip getting intimately acquainted with the bathroom in our hotel room.

The few bright spots in my week of diarrhea-induced haze were the delicious glass bottles of Coca-Cola my mom would allow me to have from time to time.

I've always remembered those Cokes tasting particularly wonderful but did not realize why until a year or two ago. The reason is simple and sweet -- cane sugar. Mexican Coke is sweetened the "old-fashioned" way--with cane sugar--like all American sodas were until the manufacturers switched to high fructose corn syrup in the 1980s to cut costs. Corn syrup may be cheaper, but cane sugar sure tastes better- it has a cleaner, lighter, purer sweetness than corn syrup.

Pure Cane Sugar, Baby!

The other reason Mexican Coke tastes better is that it comes in lovely thick glass bottles with a slight blue-green tint. It may sound improbable, but I think soda actually tastes better from a glass bottle than it does from a plastic bottle or a can. I also feel better about drinking from a glass bottle because it can be reused or fully recyled, unlike a can or plastic bottle.

Ahhh, Muy Refrescante...

As this story in the San Diego Union Tribune attests, I am not the only one who prefers the old-fashioned Mexican Coke to the corny American one. The difference in taste is so obvious to all who try the Mexican version that Coca-Cola U.S. has actually been trying to block the import of Mexican Coke into the U.S. for several years now! Pretty pathetic, huh?

While I will stop short of actually encouraging anyone to drink Coke, if you have to have it once in a while, buy the Mexican kind. Lo que es hecho en Mexico es mucho mejor! (Did I butcher that?) Just don't make it a habit since Mexican Coke does contain a TON of sugar and also requires a good amount of gas to ship here to the U.S.

If you're concerned about your carbon footprint, there are several soda makers here in the U.S. that have caught on to the appeal of cane sugar.
Boylan Bottling Co. produces a number of cane sugar-sweetened sodas and Jones Sodas actually made the switch from high fructose corn syrup to cane sugar about one year ago in response to customer demand. Trader Joe's also carries a brand of softdrinks called Hansens that switched to cane sugar last month after receiving requests from customers. And there is one lone bottling company located in Dublin, TX that produces Dr. Pepper sweetened with pure cane sugar (they call it Dublin Dr. Pepper.)

8 comments:

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Growing up, I drank multiple Cokes a day. At some point, I switched to Diet Cokes; then my doctor told me that was probably causing some stomach problems I was having. (Turns out fake sweeteners are really acidic---not that normal Coke isn't, either!) I cut out sodas altogether for quite a while (several years), and now Coke tastes like syrup to me. I'll occasionally drink another type of soda (like the Boylan kind), but it fills me up quickly, and I usually only want half a bottle.

The change is pretty amazing since my family always drank Coke like it was milk or water. People's tastes really can change with time! Good for you for working on changing up your habit.

Nadia said...

Hmm, this may explain why I loved drinking Coke on my visits to see family in Syria as a kid, but never liked Coke in the U.S. I knew it tasted better over there!

becca said...

I love coke too! I'm glad I'm not alone in my secret habit ... although I did make myself switch to Diet (and now Coke Zero) and I'm trying to cut back.

And yes, coke in Latin America is way way better - it's totally partly the glass.

Barbara said...

Hi Eve,
Coke in India is ALSO made with real sugar! Yum.

jennconspiracy said...

...and... coke bottled in Mexico is up in a much higher altitude so the carbonation comes out all different after it's shipped.

Holy moly - I mean - seriously - open up a coke like that while you're IN Mexico City? Everything is 1 billion times more fizzier and explodes no matter how long the bottle has sat still.

Jim Whalen said...

The Coke label you depict denotes sugar; NOT cane sugar.
"Cane sugar" is specific whereas "sugar"could be fructose.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Jim, that is true but everything I've ever read about Mexican coke indicates that it is, in fact, sweetened with cane sugar - maybe cane sugar is just easier to obtain in Mexico than other parts of the world? I've also noticed that fructose is usually called fructose on nutritional labels though maybe that is somewhat arbitrary/voluntary on the part of the company providing the information?

Eve Fox said...

Just googled again as I was curious and everything I see says it's sweetened with cane sugar. Just one example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Coke