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Day 38

Mountain dew mouth

A one litre bottle of Pepsi’s Mountain Dew contains 30% more caffeine than coke and 34 teaspoons of sugar. It is the highest selling beverage in the mountains of Kentucky. The term ‘Mountain Dew Mouth’ has been coined for those people that have totally decayed teeth from consuming this beverage since birth. Yes, since birth. 

 

I finally had more than 8 hours sleep last night and woke up feeling the best I have for a long time. I hit the hotel breakfast options and found myself a bowl of sultana bran and some low fat yoghurt that had “With added Fructose from Fruit” written on the side. I cant see that being a marketing catch cry in the coming years.

I had another glass of the fructose from 4 apples and left the breakfast room 18 teaspoons the false brighter. I noticed they had a waffle making machine and it came with sauces called ‘Breakfast Syrup’, the ingredients were pure high fructose corn syrup.

I then had a very special 4 hours of my life. I met a dentist who, from his own money, has started a mobile clinic that he drives around Kentucky treating all the underprivileged kids in the area that need some dental work. Its a huge RV truck with 2 dentist chairs strapped to the floor.

I travelled with him through the rolling hills to meet the wonderful Larry. Larry is only 17 and has drunk Mountain Dew since he was a baby. His mum put it in his bottle and he and the dentist told me that this is incredibly common in this part of the world. As a result, Larry got hooked and now has around 12 cans of the Dew a day, again very common. You can only imagine what his teeth looked like. He was such a kind boy and here he was faced with having to have 26 of his teeth removed in the back of a van on the side of the road. Yes I did say 26.

What unfolded over the next few hours was nothing short of a horror show. The infection of his gums meant the anesthetic wouldn’t absorb, so this little boy sat in the chair weeping from the pain.  Its just not right. I asked the dentist about Pepsi’s response to this huge problem and he said they wrote to him and then bought him a new RV to travel in and see more kids. Very thoughtful you say, they then released a press statement and the whole story was shifted to their generosity (a few experts have already told me that this is a common trick when the food companies are under pressure). The dentist told me what the people really need is education about what this stuff is doing to their teeth, but also their internals. But of course an educational program by Pepsi would be a disaster, it would be an instant loss of sales.

Throughout the brutality of molar war, I had a couple of trail mix muesli bars ( 6 teaspoons), some ham that for some reason had brown sugar in it (1) and also knocked back a new Fuze juice ‘Slenderizer’. Interesting fact here. It said only 4 grams of sugar on the side and when I tasted it I knew there was more in that sucker (finely tuned by now). I then learnt that it had Apple Juice concentrate in it and get this, the US food Association doesn’t consider this concentrate a sugar so the companies are getting away with murder (perhaps literally). It is now being used right throughout China and growing fast. Companies get to say NO SUGAR on the side but are using this fructose loaded loophole instead. Stay tuned, I will investigate this further.

After the Larry experience, I had a fantastic dinner with the dentist and his beautiful family of five. It could not have been a greater antithesis. Perhaps like strolling out of the movie ‘Saw’ and into ‘Remains Of The Day’. Dinner was a Mexican buffet which is a great idea really coz who can eat more than one serving of Mexican? Americans apparently. If you took someone from the 18th century and landed them in this buffet and explained our current world, they would recoil in horror and beg to be sent to the Dark Ages. I had a glass of sweet iced tea and its 10 teaspoons got me to the limit for the day.

When seeing a boy like Larry today or the aboriginal people of the Northern Territory and seeing what effects sugar is having on their lives, it is impossible not to want to beat down the door of these companies, drag them out to these regions and show them the human face of their profit centred reality. Perhaps we could just pile some mountain folk into an RV and head to New York?  In my reading I found a response from Pepsi about Mountain Dew and what is doing to people here:

‘Our product, consumed in moderation, can be part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.’

37 down and 40 more digesting

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