The Cost is Too Much

Morgan Clawson, Guest Writer

Summer is a sweet little girl, and she is one of my 45 younger cousins.  She is the seventh
of eight children.  She is headstrong and spirited.  Summer loves learning and playing.  As she
grew, she began to communicate in our society.  Summer’s first word, directly following “mom”
and “daddy,” was “Coke”.
I vividly recall sitting on the living room couch watching Summer, barely waddling,
desperately trying to follow her daddy’s long footsteps—following his tasty Coke.  She would share her father’s drink, or she would luxuriously sip her own bottle.  Dear little Summer is now
four, and as a result of drinking soda, she has been missing her front eight teeth for years.
Why do some parents let their children drink soda from their infant bottle? Why would a
loving parent deliberately harm their precious child?  Parents would never knowingly encourage
the consumption of such an unhealthy drink—unless they are addicted, too.
Soda pop is a silent killer.
With the exception of carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup is by far the number
one ingredient in a can of Coke.  This high-fructose corn syrup is a dangerous sweetener found in
almost all processed foods.  Varying from breakfast cereals and snack items to sauces such as
ketchup, high-fructose corn syrup is a main ingredient.  This corn syrup has been known for its
high health risks.
Princeton researchers have found that high-fructose corn syrup alone prompts
considerably more weight gain.  This is represented in the elevated obesity rates here in the
United States.  Rapid, unhealthy weight gain increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.  When the
body consumes too much sugar, the pancreas cannot create enough insulin to balance levels of
sugar in the blood.  Type 2 diabetes exemplifies the body’s failure to function with excessive
amounts of sugar.  Organs fail and the body deteriorates.
In today’s society, American diets regularly consist of carbonated soft drinks.  From
parties and celebrations, where even children are drinking Coke, to McDonalds, where customers
can purchase any size drink for one dollar, carbonated drinks are not a specialty, but normality.
Children grow up addicted to sugar, and because children grow up with soda and other sources
of sugar, obesity symptoms are visual in children at an extremely immature age.
According to research from Duke University, high-fructose corn syrup can also speedily
damage the liver.  It’s not only the liver—sugar can also lead to kidney failure, heart disease, and
other organ malfunctions and diseases.  This happens because sugar will elevate the levels of
“bad” cholesterol.  As the levels unhealthily increase, it can ultimately lead to heart disease,
stroke, and a likely, untimely death.  In today’s society, it is common for young children’s diets
to consist of this risky amount of processed sugar.
Summer and other young children should not be so easily exposed to something that
causes such serious damage.  Sugary foods such as soda pop, ice cream, and candy are too
accessible and too common.  In today’s society, children are rewarded and soothed by these
foods; these empty calories will increase their appetite and leave them craving more. Because
sugar is fed to children in these situations from a young age, sugar is tied to their emotions.  It
becomes something they will always come back to throughout their shortening lives.
Doctors teach that children between the developing ages of four and eight should not
partake of more than 12.5 grams of sugar a day.  What about younger children?  As an infant,
Summer drank more soda than milk.  And her food choices still consist of more sugar than
anything else.  In one 12-oz. can of Coke, there is a total of 39 grams of sugar.  That is more
sugar than a grown man needs in a day!
Why are members of today’s society kept so ignorant?  Of course, Americans might have
a slight understanding of their unhealthy diet, but why not fix it?  Let’s start by demanding the
percentage of sugar in our daily diet on our food labels, not just the grams.  We deserve to have
this information clearly on the box.  It is our right, and this knowledge is important.  Don’t we
deserve to protect our families?  Shouldn’t we know when we casually give a child a can of soda
that it is over 300% of the sugar their developing body needs?
Industries have set a trap and are leaving us ignorant.  This needs to change.  These
unhealthy foods usually cost the least amount at checkout, but will consumers save money in the
long run?  Cheap foods consisting of outrageous amounts of fructose control society, and one
day they will cost our families so much more.
What do parents feed children?  Some parents encourage bad habits that will continue
through their child’s life.  What do companies sell to blind parents?  All this sugar consumption
comes at the cost of hospital trips and a shorter life.  This is what parents are buying for their
children.  In the moment a bottle of soda pop will satisfy temporary cravings, but will it be worth
all the hospital bills later?
Consumers are investing in so much more when they buy a two liter bottle of Coca Cola,
even when one bottle appears to be less than two dollars.  The sugar alone in these drinks will
leave them sick emotionally, physically, and mentally.  Temporarily and permanently, these
sweet drinks become more and more of a necessity.  These deadly foods should not be so
attainable, and soda should cost more upfront and be advertised correctly.  Children should not
be like Summer, my adorable little cousin—destined to be addicted.