Why Do So Many Soft Drinks Taste Like Teletubby Blood?
I don’t drink soda very often. It’s not that I don’t like it; it’s just that after age 12 I never felt like having more than a shot of it every now and then. Soft drinks are designed for children with tiny, discerning pallets, unimpressed with the flavors provided by actual food. That said, some of the tastes in these beverages exist only inside of their cans and cannot be found anywhere else in the whole world. It’s like a Willy Wonka land of weird water, and who would be such a fool as to not sometimes dunk their tongue in the chemical concoctions and see what’s good?
I decided to veer away from the recognizable labels and see what life is like on the wild side of the soda pop biz.
15 calories per 12 fl oz/12 g sugar
Kill Cliff calls itself a “Recovery Drink,” or, rather, “THE Recovery Drink,” being conceptually healthy in that it is “naturally sweetened” and only 15 calories a can. I found it over with the Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, like maybe it’s strategically placed next to the high-end shit to make you think it’s good, a can of cola all on its own. The text on the side of the can claims that the drink was “developed by a former US Navy Seal” to “improve endurance and speed recovery.” It’s unclear who the Seal was, and why he thought “Kill Cliff” would be a good name for a revitalization beverage. They also employ the tagline “Test Positive for Awesome,” which is maybe closer to an AIDS joke than should be on a can of soda.
The first sip reminds me of if Sweet Tarts were a liquid and strained through a pair of men’s briefs after a short doubles’ tennis match in a domed arena. It’s all puckery and buzzing around the edges, and when it hits the back of the throat it immediately provides the feeling of having recently barfed. This post-barf expression kind of kneads its way back and forth across the tongue and palate like electricity. I take a second sip to cover up the first, and the buzzing strain appears again, redoubled. I kind of already have a headache.
As I get deeper into the can, my brain becomes warm. It feels like my head is flooding with acid, and I can only tolerate the sensation by drinking so fast I can’t taste anything. When I stop my head is spinning, and I feel full of gasoline.
I might recommend Kill Cliff to remove paint or to dissolve the bars on a prison cell, but as far as liquid designed to go inside my body is concerned, no.
Marley’s Mellow Mood (Berry Flavor)
165 calories per 12 fl oz/29 g sugar
Sniffing the edge of the can’s mouth before I take a swig, I get the full bouquet of chemical fruit fun, suggesting what I’m about to drink is again going to come from the “Sick Fake Candy” food group. So I’m shocked when the liquid hits my lips and the first thing I think is actually, Hey, this IS smooth! Maybe it’s the dead rock icon on the can with the marijuana colors that brainwashed me into this feeling, though more likely it’s how, compared to Kill Cliff, this shit is like white sturgeon caviar. More watered-down Hawaiian Punch than actual soda, there is also a delicate flavor similar to the air in a bong shop lurking just behind the first curve of berry. The mixture is confusing, hairy, seemingly as unsure of itself as I am of it, but at least I don’t want to do an immediate spit-take.
The March Madness of Fast Food
Fast food is blood to me. And I don’t mean that because I eat it often— I mean it populates my mind and flows through my veins. Sometimes I can be ultraproductive for a whole week by telling myself that if I make it through and finish all of my work, I will reward myself by eating shit. My carrot on a stick is a dripping Big Mac is what I’m saying. Some of my most powerful emotions have been procured in the drive-throughs of the dozens upon dozens of butthole food options America has bequeathed its hungry citizens. Sometimes even just driving down the road feels like a Death Olympics, where at any point you could pull over and upload a couple thousand calories into your face.
After spending several days sprawled out watching men on TV throw a ball at a hole in an effort not to get eliminated from some competition, I decided to subject the butt buffets of America to a similar competition. I seeded 64 of our most popular corporate fast food establishments from one to 16, based primarily on sales stats, then went to business facing the fuckers off based on what my body likes. Below are the results.
8. Del Taco
9. White Castle
5. Dairy Queen
13. Manchu Wok
6. Five Guys
3. Domino’s Pizza
14. Miami Subs
7. Church’s Chicken
2. Pizza Hut
15. Smoothie King
McDonald’s is hosted by a clown and their only item that isn’t shitted up are the french fries; Denny’s gives you actual silverware, so fuck Denny’s: McDonald’s.
In elementary school my mom would take us to Del Taco, and all I remember is the refried beans, how you could almost drink them; White Castle is piss: Del Taco.
Krystal is only OK to eat if you’re so drunk you won’t remember anything the next morning besides the smell; Dairy Queen dunks shit in chocolate up to your wrist: DQ.
Relax, Soda Isn’t Killing Anyone
Today, the left-wing blog ThinkProgress freaked out over a study that linked soda and other sugary drinks to 180,000 deaths globally each year. According to that study, “one out of every 100 obesity-related deaths around the world can be tied to sugary drinks, which directly exacerbate health conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer… the over-consumption of those beverages increased global deaths from diabetes by 133,000, from cardiovascular disease by 44,000 and from cancer by 6,000.” One of the study’s co-authors, Gitanjali Singh of the Harvard School of Public Health, said that these tens of thousands of deaths “should impel policy makers to make strong policies to reduce consumption of sugary beverages.” ThinkProgress went on to note that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to do exactly that, but the courts struck his proposal down and now, Oh God, New Yorkers will keep drinking lots of soda and, presumably, keep dying from sugary drinks. I hope you’re happy, you cranky libertarian types. The right to drink whatever you want that you cherish so much is killing innocent people.
Man, where to start?
1. 180,000 deaths worldwide per year is, like, hardly any deaths. The CIA World Factbook says that 107 people die every minute, which works out to roughly 154,000 deaths a day. If soda is killing as few people as the study says, it’s not a hugely urgent problem.
2. The American Beverage Association—a.k.a., Big Soda, so take this with a grain of salt—pointed out inBloomberg that the study’s abstract, which was published by the American Heart Association, doesn’t include a methodology and wasn’t peer-reviewed, so it’s impossible to check the researchers’ work. They say the American Heart Association “calculated the quantities of sugar-sweetened beverage intake around the world by age and sex; the effects of this consumption on obesity and diabetes; and the impact ofobesity and diabetes-related deaths,” but the raw numbers weren’t on the website so we have to take them at their word.
Paid to Eat
After years of getting paid to scarf down tacos and pizza on “fat fetish” cam sites, Donna Simpson reached an astonishing 600 lbs. She’s now desperately trying to lose weight in order to lead a normal life for the sake of herself and her children.
The VICE Guide to Fat People
If you’re fat, your life probably went something like mine:
Once upon a time you were eight years old. Your parents got divorced. You moved schools. You didn’t talk to anyone for a few weeks. But then, magically, you got over it. How did you get over it? Spaghetti hoops and sausages in a can, no exercise, and Hostess Fruit Pies. Your journey had begun.
By the time you were ten, the world was laughing at you. And why not? You looked like a condom full of Play-Doh that came alive and grew some hair. Your parents fitted plastic locks on all the food cupboards, but you destroyed them easily with your massive hands. Your friends became bullies and your teachers became friends. How did you try to fix the situation? Chicken nuggets and milkshakes x 1000.
So now you’re a grown-up fat person. Congratulations, you are part of the most successful and fastest growing (LOL) demographic in the world. You’re also using up more resources than necessary, contributing disproportionately to global warming by expelling more gases than cattle, and indirectly murdering millions of starving children in Third World countries across the planet. Give yourself a round of applause!
But, as all daytime talk show enthusiasts know, life’s not always such a peach for the rotund. In fact, sometimes, it’s pretty damn shitty. So, for all you who, like me, are proud, First World fatties, here are some gems of advice to help you through your significantly shortened lives.
FACIAL HAIR ♂ / MAKEUP ♀
When you’re a child, disguising the fact that your neck long ago enveloped your jawline is not easy. However, sexual maturity offers you a get out of jail. Careful grooming of a beard (an actual beard, not soul patches or those bullshit pencil-thin Jersey Shorelines) not only creates the illusion of a jaw, but also lends a sense of masculinity to a blotched, swollen face which, frankly, belongs on a pregnant alcoholic. Ladies, unhappy you can’t beard up like your pudgy brothers? You can achieve similar effects by using subtle shadings of blusher and foundation to draw on a chin somewhere in that pile of flesh that goes from your shoulders to your lips.
If you believe television, then you think fat people seek each other out romantically. Obviously, this is not the case. Just because you’re fat, it doesn’t mean you fancy other fat people—you’re fat, not a chubby chaser. Fat people fancy the same people as everyone else: Ryan Gosling and Rihanna, we just have even less of a chance of actually sleeping with them. Fat people tend to settle for other fat people; and then we compliment each other, we feel good about ourselves, and the world inches towards being a better place.
You might be a looker. Fuck, you might be David JFK Clooney Beckham, but no one will ever know, because your face is hidden behind two inches of meat. The average person doesn’t want to make out with a plate of sausage filling. But, hopefully you’ve been paying attention to the hilarious insults everyone’s been throwing at you since year dot, because you’re going to need to be funny. Charming as well. Seriously, you have to be twice as charming as Hugh Grant, because he’s really skinny. But get it right, and you’ll be able to fuck right out of your comfort zone. Sixes. You can get sixes. Which, let’s face it, is great news.
Alternatively, if you’re gay, you lucked out. Hot, skinny lesbians, who—on planet hetero-norm—would be screwing Jared Leto, LOVE big girls. And if you’re a fat gay guy? Well, things couldn’t be easier; walk into any bear bar and prepare to feel all those years of feeling unattractive washed away in a sea of jizzum.
As a large person, a lot of your life is spent trying to avoid breaking a sweat or running out of breath. Sadly, you’re gonna fall short of this ambition several times a day, every time you see a flight of stairs, in fact. Unless you live in an air-conditioned elevator wonderland, you’re going to have to deal with stairs ALMOST CONSTANTLY. Toilets, bedrooms, balconies, viewing platforms—all of these bastard things are upstairs and by the time you get there, you’re going to smell so bad the paramedics will probably refuse to treat the enormous heart attack going on behind your fat ribs. Also, the temperature in your crotch will go up by about 15 degrees in under 60 seconds. Fucking stairs.