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Methane and the match: coffee, soda, water all have hidden pitfalls

It’s Monday morning, and the only consolation you have for the grueling, inhumanely cruel long week ahead of you is in your hands. What you hold is the miracle of human existence.

Mmm. A warm cup of delicious Starbucks coffee. A Triple-Layer-Smooth-Roasted-Chocolatey-Vanilla-Hyper-Yummy-Espresso, or whatever fancy name they’ve come up with nowadays.

You raise the cup to your lips, prepared to ascend to heaven.

All of a sudden, the coffee cup leaps up into the air, grows sharp fangs and clamps itself onto your head. At the same time, you develop stomach pain and constipation, both rather unpleasant things. Your teeth turn brown and fall onto the ground at a ridiculously quick rate, and your bones suddenly crack and split. You squeal in pain as the coffee cup grunts in its efforts to crack your cranium in two.

Ominous music plays in the background, and red words flash across a darkening sky: COFFEE STRIKES BACK! Dun, dun, dun!

And that, my friend, was a mostly accurate simulation of the detrimental effects of coffee on your body, minus the fanged coffee cup, of course.

Yes, that drink you hold now is a package of death and suffering sent in all its delicious, creamy goodness. Coffee has been shown to cause all sorts of nasty side effects. Statistics show that coffee increases the risk of osteoporosis, heartburn and hypertension.

It also causes severe stomach pain. In fact, in a study of approximately 25,000 men, scientists found that those who drank coffee were 72 percent more likely to have ulcers than those who didn’t take their cup o’ joe.

Coffee causes teeth to decay, just as nicotine does. Not only that, but coffee is also just as addictive. Doctors have identified what is now called “caffeine-dependency syndrome,” in which people who try to stop drinking coffee begin to shake and tremble, and develop anxiety and sleep disorders.

Those jitters are only cured if more coffee is consumed. Without coffee, the person just completely falls apart.

That is, by extension, the 90 percent of Americans who consume coffee daily basically amounts to 90 percent of the population being on a legalized drug.

But coffee isn’t the only threat out there to humans now. The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently concluded that the food coloring in Coca-Cola and Pepsi is a carcinogen, which is science talk for “bad cancer-causing thing.”

But soda’s just sugar and water made tasty, right? It can’t get any worse than diabetes 10 times over. That’s true, unless you also add in artificial chemicals with funky names like “4-methylimidazole” (4-MEI). Then you get diabetes 10 times over AND cancer.

And that’s not even counting the rest of the chemicals in that Coca-Cola bottle. If you look at the ingredients label, you’ll find even more creative chemical names with thirty-some syllables.

You’ve got to wonder how much fun the darn chemists had coming up with those tongue twisters.

Scientists fed 4-MEI to rats in a test, and found that they developed cancer shortly thereafter.

And that is the price we pay for that wonderful brown-coloring sodas have.

Coffee and soda, therefore, are off the list of possible drinks.

And without getting into specifics, rocket fuels, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, mercury, lead, and arsenic all add to the distinct flavor of tap water.

So if we can’t drink coffee, soda or water, then what can we drink? 

To be honest, I don’t know either. The easy solution would be to die, but that would kind of destroy the purpose of this article, which is to teach everyone how not to die. 

But at least we can still enjoy our Starbucks before our teeth fall out and migraines kill us all.

Kevin Hwang is a senior at Athens High School currently taking classes at Ohio University. Have you sworn off coffee, soda or water? Email him at

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