Just when you may have been daring to think that you can convince your family to actually enjoy a healthy, wholesome breakfast, Pepsico had to come along and ruin things. No more freshly-squeezed orange juice for your kids’ palates. No nutritious all-natural yogurt and organic fruit smoothies on the way out the door. Now we’re being encouraged to give our loved ones and ourselves a drink that is so foul by its very description it’ll make Gatorade seem like champagne (although nothing will ever improve its taste).
Pepsico is getting ready to introduce the nation to its latest evil plot to destroy our bodies on February 25: Kickstart. This addition to the Mountain Dew line is a fruit-flavored (emphasis on “flavored” here) concoction of carbonated beverage (call it “pop” in the Midwest, and “soda” west of the Rockies, it’s still the same junk drink) and a mere five per cent actual fruit juice, sweetened by unnamed, as of yet, artificial sweeteners, plus some Vitamins B and C. Apparently they are going to disregard the fact that vitamins generally tend to deteriorate in carbonated drinks, as most dentists will tell their patients. The other ninety-five per cent of this drink is all artificial ingredients, with the vast majority—more than in any other carbonated beverage—being caffeine.
The Food and Drug Administration, in its great wisdom, has given its blessing to Kickstart by declaring it as juice, due to its five per cent content of the real stuff. Never mind the rest of it could be sewer water for all they care—that magic figure of five per cent is all they need to know to decide that Kickstart is, indeed, a juice. Talk about alchemy—instead of changing lead into gold, the US government has turned a junk drink into juice!
Sure, at 92 milligrams of caffeine, it packs substantially less than either coffee or the so-called energy drinks, which are now coming under fire for possible links to deaths of young people using them. Some of those drinks contain over 140 milligrams of caffeine, including guarana, a natural source of this non-nutritive substance. However, Kickstart is still going to carry twenty more milligrams of caffeine than the other Mountain Dew varieties. Since many of those consuming such drinks are youth who are still growing and can be more easily affected by stimulants, do they really need more? Isn't it bad enough they often use enough sugar from various sources throughout the day to get them wired, not to mention destroy teeth, add unwanted poundage and possibly bring them to the brink of diabetes?
Undoubtedly many people of all ages find it difficult to get going early in the morning. However, chemically-induced wakefulness is not the same as alertness, nor does it give real energy. Caffeine only provides a temporary boost to the body, followed by an inevitable crash. Combine this with generally poor nutrition for the rest of the day, and staying up too late, is it not natural to therefore experience a restless night and a morning of lethargy? The body is not designed to run on artificial ingredients because it is not, itself, artificial. When will humans get that through their heads?
The best idea is to kick Kickstart out before it gets a foothold in your life. Don’t even try it. You will be far better off with natural drinks like milk, juice, herbal tea and water for breakfast along with whole grain cereal, fruit and protein such as meat, fish, or eggs in moderation. Just make sure what goes into your stomach is real. Your body will know what to do with true nutrients but is unable to process artificial garbage.