2. Harmfulness Of Common Beverages
2.1 Coffee, Tea, and Caffeine
Perhaps the two most popular beverages in America are coffee and tea. Less than 9% of the population drink neither coffee or tea. About half the people in the United States have two to three cups a day of these beverages, and another one-quarter of the population drinks 6 to 7 or more cups of coffee and tea every day.
These figures mean that over 200 billion doses of the drug caffeine are consumed by people in this country every year. Most people do not think that their morning cup of coffee or glass of tea at lunch is a drug. Yet caffeine is addictive, causes withdrawal symptoms when discontinued, and induces both psychological and physical dependence. It sure sounds like a drug, doesn’t it?
2.2 How Caffeine Affects You
Caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system, similar to cocaine and amphetamines in this manner. It increases the heart rate and rhythm, changes the blood vessel diameter, and affects coronary circulation, blood pressure, urination, and other physiological functions.
As little as three cups of coffee have enough caffeine to increase the basal metabolic rate of the body as much as 25%. In other words, you are “speeded up” about one-fourth above your normal activity.
In 1973, a study on heart patients revealed that people who drank five or more cups of coffee daily had twice as many heart attacks as nondrinkers. Caffeine is now also a suspected factor in birth defects, diabetes, kidney failure, gastric ulcers, and cancer of the pancreas.
In large enough amounts, caffeine can kill you. The fatal dose of this drug is what is contained in about 70 cups of coffee. That may sound like a large amount of coffee, but it is not unusual for some coffee drinkers to consume about one-third that amount every day. About seven cups of coffee can produce acute toxic effects in individuals. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include mild delirium, ringing in the ears, flashes of light in the field of vision, and trembling of the muscles.
“I’m mad at the world until I get my first cup of coffee,” is a statement heard more than once. Why? Because the habitual user of coffee becomes so addicted to his morning drug that unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occur even overnight.
Dr. J. Murdoch Ritchie, a drug researcher, states that caffeine is physically addictive and withdrawal symptoms are quite common. “Indulgence in caffeine-containing beverages leads to a condition of chronic poisoning, resulting in restlessness, disturbed sleep, cardiac irregularities, and tachycardia (rapid heart rate). The essential oils of coffee cause gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea is a common symptom. The high tannin content of tea (another caffeine beverage), on the other hand, is apt to cause constipation.” The caffeine-beverages are both harmful and addictive.
Caffeine withdrawal can occur from just missing the “morning cup of coffee.” Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are headaches, irritability, inability to work effectively, nervousness, restlessness and lethargy. When a regular user of caffeine drinks ends their use totally, he may experience tight headaches in the back of the neck area and be quick to anger or irritation. These symptoms usually pass in around three days or less as the body detoxifies from its habitual caffeine load.
Although coffee is mentioned as the most widely known caffeine beverage, tea also has a large amount of this drug. Usually tea has about half as much caffeine as a similar amount of coffee (unless strongly brewed), but since many people usually drank a larger amount of tea than coffee at one sitting, they still receive a large dose of the drug.
Interestingly enough, many parents instinctively realize that coffee and tea contain a strong drug, and so they deny it to their children for a few years. I remember at how “adult” I felt when I was allowed to have my first cup of coffee at fourteen years old. Young children instead are often given hot chocolate or cocoa in place of coffee. Yet cocoa and chocolate drinks have significant amounts of the caffeine drug as well.
Not only that, but the cola soft drinks contain large amounts of the drug—sometimes as much or more than that in a cup of coffee. Soft drinks, however, have more dangers than caffeine associated with them, and that is the next topic.
2.3 Soft Drinks Are Hard Drugs
In the news was an account of a young boy who drank 64 bottles of a soda drink, one right after the other, to win a two dollar bet. A young girl was given a case of soft drinks as a prize for her scholarship. She drank the entire case that same day.
Over 250 soft drinks are consumed each year for every man, woman, and child in this country. Many people drink one or two such drinks a day as a regular habit. It is not uncommon to find people who drink over 100 ounces of cola, pop, or sodas every day of their lives.
Some drink it the first thing in the morning. Others have it as the last thing at night. Still others have it with every meal or all through the day.
Soft drinks are addictive. They are a drug. They do damage to the body. They furnish no nutrition. They are a menace to your health, and the only thing “soft” about them is how soft they can make your teeth by dissolving them.
Cola drinks were discovered in 1949 to contain a solution strong enough to dissolve iron. As for human teeth, Dr. Clive McCay of Cornell University showed that soft drinks can completely erode tooth enamel and make the teeth soft as mush within two days.
The bad ingredient in this case is phosphoric acid—an acid so strong that it can erode granite rock, and yet it is a common substance in all soft drinks.
Besides phosphoric acid, soft drinks also contain white sugar (usually an ounce or more per drink), artificial flavoring and coloring, carbon dioxide, and caffeine.
The carbonation, or carbonic acid, in the drink (which makes it “fizz”) was discovered by Dr. Hunter H. Turner to be a strong factor in the increasing number of nearsighted children and adults. Not only is the stuff bad for your teeth, but it destroys the vision as well.
There is so much sugar in a soft drink that heavy drinkers often get an extra pound of white sugar in their diet each day. Blood sugar levels shoot up and sink when soft drinks are consumed. The appetite is dulled, and valuable nutrients are depleted in an attempt to metabolize the sugar in these drinks. When soft drinks are taken with food, the sugar leads to fermentation instead of good digestion.
The coloring used in the drinks are usually coal tar derivatives. Almost every coal tar derivative that has undergone extensive testing has been labeled a carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, agent.
The caffeine in soft drinks is so high that a child who drinks 4 bottles within an hour has received .13
grams of this drug—an amount even termed excessive and dangerous by the medical establishment. Dr. D.G. Steyn of South Africa has demonstrated that cold drinks which contain caffeine (such as soft drinks) are actually more harmful than hot or warm caffeine beverages.
In the last twenty years, soft drink manufacturers have developed, “sugarless” drinks. Of course these are artificially sweetened. The sweeteners used are chemical products which also have been implicated as cancer-causing. Such drinks are often used by people desiring to lose weight. Unfortunately, while cutting down on calories, they may be building a tumor at the same time.
Soft drinks are not “soft”—they are hard on you and your health.
2.4 One For The Road
Of all the beverages with harmful effects, alcohol is probably the most widely known and frequently abused. Seven million people in this country have a serious drinking problem. Probably three to four times that amount use alcohol so much as to interfere with their normal lives.
Over 30,000 people a year are killed because of drunken drivers. Tens of millions of work hours are lost each year because of alcohol. We lose millions of dollars every year to alcohol and its related problems.
Alcohol is not a “safe” drug. It is an addictive drug. Out of every eight people who drink, one will become a life-long alcoholic. You cannot find such a high rate of addiction among any other drug users.
Yet alcohol is treated as a non-drug by the government. They issue licenses, collect taxes, and allow manufacturers to spend 300 million dollars a year to push the drug.
Alcohol destroys the liver, contributes to ulcers, enlarges the heart, and kills brain cells. It destroys both the body and the mind. Alcohol must be recognized as the killer it is and no longer treated as a social lubricant or “harmless” relaxant. It is a drug and has no place in a healthful lifestyle.
2.5 Herbal Potions and Drinks
Witches used to have their special “brew.” They would toss toads and roots and hair and blood and herbs into a big pot and make their special tea. Today, people leave out the toads and blood but they still use the herbs, and they call their potion “herb tea.”
Most of the drugs and medicines used have originally come from herbs. Herbs are drugs. They are not foods. A tea made from these roots, bark and leaves somehow has achieved an unearned reputation of being healthy. Drugs are never health promoting. A tea made from drugs (herbs) cannot be health promoting.
People have been fooled. Health-seekers who would never touch a drop of coffee or an alcoholic drink put away cup after cup of this witch’s brew because they think herb tea must be good for them since the ingredients are plants.
Since herbs and their dangers are covered in a future lesson, you only need know that herb teas are not such safe and healthy drinks. They may be a stimulant or a depressant or a carminative or whatever, but regardless every herb is a drug and a poison and a drink made from them can in no way be considered suitable for human consumption.
2.6 Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Fruit and vegetable juices are the finest liquids we can rink—provided that they are obtained directly from the food itself and not artificially extracted.
Extracted juices, like those in bottles, concentrates, or cans, have undergone oxidation, deterioration, and fragmentation. An extracted juice is an unnatural food.
We are meant to eat fruits and vegetables, not drink them. We have a thirst center and a hunger center in our brain. When we drink something that was meant to be eaten, we confuse this mechanism. Our hunger center may tell us that we want to eat one orange. If we pour down a glass of juice containing three or four oranges instead, we are not listening to the true needs of the body.
This is one of the dangers of drinking extracted juices. They are so concentrated that it is easy to overload the body with one nutrient or the other. At the same time, these juices have no fiber.
Frozen concentrates, bottled and canned juices, or any juice made more than twenty minutes ago cannot be good for the body.
If juices are actively desired, then they should be made fresh, consumed immediately, and used only in the same quantities that you would eat them. For instance, it is quite possible to “drink” twenty or more carrots in a couple glasses of carrot juice. We’re not equipped to handle twenty carrots given to the body in such a short time. It would be better if two or three carrots were juiced and then sipped slowly.
Even the consumption of freshly made juices cannot be strongly recommended. If you’re hungry, eat. It you’re thirsty, drink, and when you drink, make it pure distilled water.
2.7 What Can You Drink?
It seems like that everything you drink is not good for you. You might wonder what you can drink. First, realize that most drinking is due to a water-deficient diet. If you do not eat the wrong foods, you’ll probably want to drink very little. Often drinking is a social activity—much like eating. People like to offer drinks as a sign of hospitality.
If you experience true thirst, then your best choice for a drink is distilled water. Should you wish to offer someone something to drink or if you feel a desire for “liquid” nourishment, then freshly made juices may be sipped slowly in small quantities. These juices are actually foods and should be consumed as foods. No other foods should be taken with these fresh juices.
Other than these two liquids, it is difficult to recommend any other beverages. If you can break the habit of drinking with your meals and if you can eliminate the salt habit, then your drinking needs will be very slight and easily satisfied..
All of the drinking done by most people is pathological and results from a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle.
Drinking merely replaces lost fluids in the body. Treat it as such and you will find that clear, cool water will satisfy you on all levels.