February 3, 2017



Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'm always impressed by how much sugar there is in a can/bottle of soda. But in this case, the scaling up left me unimpressed; is that all it adds up to over a three year period?

Fandor said...

"Sweets for the sweet."

Bloomberg does not approve!

Bob Ellison said...

We need a petroleum-to-ethanol comparison.

Ann Althouse said...

It's easy. If you're thinking of drinking soda, just ask yourself: Would I rather have water and some candy?

Mattman26 said...

I guess the idea is to convince you how sugar-laden (and thus bad) soda is (or "pop" as I called it growing up in Chicago). But the effect it had on me was: Why pick on soda?

Bob Ellison said...

Water doesn't go well with candy.

David said...

Would I rather have water and some candy?

Soda and candy. Pretty common, actually.

David said...

Beer and bratwurst? That would make a nice chart too.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I think the last frame would have been better converted to fat: this is how many pounds ( and cubic inches ) of human body fat it would equal.

Kevin said...

This seems like it's "normalizing" Snickers bars.

lemondog said...

Is that 20 foot counter gummy bears or chocolate covered cherries? Dark chocolate, of course.

Patrick said...

"The key is portion control, which is why I switched to eating smaller bottles of frosting."

Can't miss the mouse over jokes on XKCD

tim in vermont said...

The thing about water is that if you have fallen into bad habits, it takes a few days or more to to get back to feeling natural thirst, since you have confused your body about drinking and eating.

Juice is another poison.

Fernandinande said...

Mattman26 said...
Why pick on soda?

Taxing soda is a popular food fad. The xkcd guy is PC and follows fads.

clint said...

Wow. So by choosing the diet soda, I can eat all that candy?

Win, win!!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So my rough calculation is that a soda a day for three years is the same number of calories as 87 lbs of body fat, which is 2622 cubic inches, or ~1.5 cubic feet of body fat.

Of course, there are calories burned just converting the sugar to fat, and other metabolic changes, so I'm not saying that drinking the sodas will result in 87 lbs of weight gain.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Another way to look at it: 1 20oz soda is the caloric equivalent to 36g of human body fat. So the real question is: would you rather drink one 20oz soda, or eat 360g of 90% lean human flesh?

damikesc said...

Should we ask how much sugar is in a Starbucks frappuccino?

lemondog said...


Carol said...

I'd like to see a poison-equivalent chart for diet soda.

harryo said...

Chicken Fried Rice

227 grams per package, 1 serving

Teaspoons of sugar = 12.4 per serving

64 grams carbs / 2 grams fiber = *32*, grade = F (no source of fiber)
64 grams carbs - 2 grams fiber / 5 = 12.4 teaspoons of sugar

The bad news, is this is all you can eat the whole fucking day, and part of tomorrow (bon app├ętit). Let me also say, it has 1.15 grams of sodium, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Now you know why fat people like it. It's $1.00 each, and will comfort even a dying man.

You can thank the people in Duluth, MN for this atomic bomb.

traditionalguy said...

Kill the sugar! Kill the sugar!

After exterminating the locals to steal gold and silver, Sugar was the reason for the Portugese and the Spanish Empires capturing a third of the African population and shipping them to be worked to death in Brazil and the Caribbean Islands. All done at the Global Pope's command. Then after 150 years of wealth from dead slaves, Spain and Portugal's rivals, the French Kings and British Kings, then played catch up on slave dealer/shipping profits. Then they also imported some of the African captives as slaves to the British King's Colonial south to be used in used in tobacco and rice. But that overnight gave way to King Cotton which emerged as the Industrial Revolution's key raw material necessary to create Global Trade Wealth for all of Europe's Aristocrats.

And now sugar is back to be their excuse for Global Governance. As the Globe turns.

Henry said...

For my teenage son, this would be an advertisement to drink soda.

Henry said...

Mattman26 said...
Why pick on soda?

Because it's not gin.

Ann Althouse said...

The main reason to "pick on" soda is that many people are oblivious about calories that are in the things they drink. You know what you're doing when you are eating candy. But soda is a refreshing beverage. You drink it like water.

Eleanor said...

I gave up soda, both regular and diet, for unsweetened iced tea about 10 years ago, but I didn't lose a pound until I started getting more exercise. I'm not suggesting soda is good for you, but it's not the primary source of obesity in this country. It's just easier to tax than being a couch potato.

Known Unknown said...

If you love the sugar in soda, you should really be drinking juice.

tcrosse said...

Sugary frosted breakfast cereal belongs somewhere on this continuum.

harryo said...

If there is one thing a fat person should know, it is the "carbs to fiber" ratio.

All carbs are converted to sugar in our sewage treatment plant. Without fiber it leaks into the blood stream.

Leaky bowls, are like micron filters where the holes have been opened up to allow the whole shebang into your blood stream, which then attaches to all your electrical circuits and after a few years you short out and die on the toilet.

Carbs to Fiber Ratio

A simple math formula you can use to measure the quality of a food product, based on how much of it is just sugar, is the ratio method. Simply divide the carbs by the fiber.

Grade Value Rating
A 1 - 2 Excellent
B 2 - 4 Good
C 4 - 8 Average
D 8 - 16 Poor
F 16+ Avoid

YoungHegelian said...

It's pretty easy to figure out how much sugar is in soda. Look at the calories listed on the can or bottle & divide by 16, which is how many calories there are in a teaspoon of sugar.

Thus, a 12 oz can of Coke with 140 calories has the equivalent in HFCS of 8.75 teaspoons of sugar. Imagine putting 9 teaspoons of sugar into your tea or coffee!

Known Unknown said...

"Let me drink my damn Coke"

harryo said...

A lot of people don't know this. But high fructose corn syrup causes gout and kidney stones.

As the body breaks down fructose, chemical compounds called purines are released. The breakdown of purines produces uric acid—the substance that forms painful crystals in the joints and causes gout. Within minutes after you drink high fructose corn syrup-sweetened soda, your uric acid levels rise.

If you have high levels of uric acid (check your last lab report), then you should be taking Allopurinol (zyloprim). Probably about 300 mg to start.

Here's the deal though - you can no longer drink alcohol at any level. Zilch. You will wish you were dead, if it doesn't kill you.

Best bet, lose the high fructose corn syrup, and drink water instead. Not tap water though. Tap water is cancerous and contains lead.

Gabriel said...

One 20 oz bottle of soda has almost exactly the same sugar as one 20 oz bottle of fruit juice. Missing from Randall's comparison, because people think of fruit juice as "healthy", as though the vitamins in it magic away the sugar--or as if the sugar in fruit is somehow different from that in soda (your clue that it isn't different is the word "fructose".)

I'm baffled by the mythology that cane sugar would somehow be better for you.

Gabriel said...

Anyway, the juice in 16 oz of apple juice came from 6-8 apples. Very few people think that eating 6-8 apples at one go would be very healthy--but you would be full for most of the rest of the day if you did and unlikely to take in many more calories after that.

Now take all the calories out of those apples, put them in a glass without any of the bulk of the apple, and drink it. Now with an empty belly you can eat for the rest of the day!

Yeah, fruit juice is as "bad for you" as soda--no more and no less bad.

Dose makes the poison.

Birches said...

Does koolaid have more or less sugar than a soda?

Gabriel said...

Sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are nearly chemically identical. The ratio of glucose to fructose in sugar and the HFCS used in sodas is the same, so whatever fructose and glucose you are getting in the Mexican Coke is the very same that you are getting in the HFCS-sweetened Coke.

There's no magic "good" sugar that has been replace by "bad" sugar. Rather, expensive sugar has been replaced with cheap.

Sodas are every bit as bad for you, no more and no less, than they were in the 1970s, and no more or less bad for you than fruit juice.

harryo said...

When I go to a restaurant, I always order water.

Then my wife groans as I pull out my plastic lemon squeeze, and "shoot a load" of pure lemon into my drink. Water is free, by the way.

My wife always says "you feel better now that you've shot your load?"

Actually, yes. Don't allow real lemons to be placed anywhere near you in a restaurant. They are as bad as sitting on their toilet seats.

You don't sit on their toilet seats do you? Oh my God, don't get me started.

Gabriel said...

@Birches:Does koolaid have more or less sugar than a soda?

Huh. 1.5 cups of sugar to the gallon. A gallon is 8 16 oz glasses. So that 1.5 cups * 48 teaspoons per cup / 8 is how much sugar is in your Kool-Aid.

9 teaspoons of sugar per glass, 144 calories. A bottle of Coke has 140.

harryo said...

Birches said...Does koolaid have more or less sugar than a soda?

They usually recommend 2 cups of sugar to be added per gallon.

Sugar is better than high fructose corn syrup though. Which is why, if you drink Coke, is to buy the Coke from Mexico. Mexicans don't allow high fructose corn syrup to contaminate their food supply.

It's an American thing.

Gabriel said...

No, a can of Coke has 140 and a 16 oz bottle is 190.

So Kool-Aid has a little less sugar than Coke, but you're not saving much. It's cheaper though.

Gabriel said...

@harryo:Sugar is better than high fructose corn syrup though

Based one what? Sugar is 1 - 1 fructose to glucose. So is HFCS. You're fooling yourself if you think there is some kind of difference. They are the same chemicals in the same ratio.

If one is bad for you the other is no less bad and no more.

YoungHegelian said...


If one is bad for you the other is no less bad and no more.

While I prefer the taste of sucrose to HFCS in my sodas, I have never, ever, for one single minute, kidded myself that difference in sweetener ameliorates its health issues one little bit.

harryo said...

Gabriel said...Based one what?

The reason they call it "high fructose" is that it contains 5% more fructose than glucose. Processed sugar is 50/50 glucose/fructose and HFCS is 45/55.

"The body does process pure fructose and pure glucose in different ways, and studies on both humans and animals have shown that pure fructose can negatively influence a person's health and appetite. People eating pure fructose are less likely to feel full and more likely to overeat, which can lead to obesity and diabetes."

While 5% is not "pure fructose" by any means, it is different enough, that different results should be expected.

If I crash my car into a wall at a 5% higher speed, I should expect 5% higher injury.

Gabriel said...

@YoungHegelian:While I prefer the taste of sucrose to HFCS

Sucrose is 1-1 fructose-glucose, and so is HFCS. I do not believe you can taste the difference. I would have to see you correctly distinguish them, double-blinded, like ten times.

@harryo:If I crash my car into a wall at a 5% higher speed, I should expect 5% higher injury

No you shouldn't, because your kinetics energy is 10% higher when you are 5% faster.

Not every effect is linear.

it is different enough, that different results should be expected.

Based on...? I hope your biochemistry knowledge is better than your physics knowledge.

YoungHegelian said...


I do not believe you can taste the difference. I would have to see you correctly distinguish them, double-blinded, like ten times.

If we were physically in the same place I would take that bet.

Not only does sucrose make the other flavorings in the soda more "acrid", it has a different mouth feel.

Sucrose & fructose just taste different. Fructose is sweeter, & in a "gloppy" way. If you think they're the same, try & do baking or candy making with fructose & report back to us how that works. They do not behave the same in cooking & they don't taste the same.

Don't assume that just because you haven't trained your palate to the difference, no one else has.

Unknown said...

So? It is so easy to judge and want to control what other people do. In a society obsessed with having fun, getting high, binging on Netflix, why is eating evil? What is the difference? If it is all about the senses (and not about, say, Faith) then why not eat yourself to death? Who cares if you look good?

Merny11 said...

Haryo, what's wrong with lemons?

Joe said...

I rarely drink soda, but comparisons like this are idiotic. Though, in the case of Tofu, useful: eating this much tofu is like eating this much dog shit.

BTW, to me that Coke Zero tastes way better than Coke. I've also found that Coke Zero from a can tastes better than Coke Zero from a soda machine.

Bob Loblaw said...

Why pick on soda?

Same reason nonsmokers picked on smoking. Virtue is free if you don't have that particular vice.

harryo said...

Merny11 said...Haryo, what's wrong with lemons?

Not many restaurants wash them before slicing them. Thus the dirty rind gets all over.

Someone did a study in NYC by swabbing the served lemons and found a lot of fecal matter on them. Thus, they surmised that maybe the slices were being placed into the drink by people with dirty hands.

The cooks don't mess with the lemons. It is usually the waiters duty to slice them. Waiters don't have the same food safety ethic as cooks.

tcrosse said...

Somebody told me that the filthiest things in the average restaurant are the menus.

Aussie Pundit said...

Fake news.
A snickers bar the length of the bottle has the same amount of sugar as a bottle of soda? This is utterly implausible, and doesn't even stand up to a few seconds of scrutiny.

Jon Ericson said...

A regular-sized Snickers bar contains 27 grams of sugar (the equivalent of 7 teaspoons). Sugar, corn syrup, and lactose — three different types of sugar — are listed as ingredients.

Jon Ericson said...


HT said...

What an unhelpful graphic! It would've been better just to evaporate the liquid and show the sugar that remains.

Our food supply is saturated with sugar. Sugar drives cravings and hunger for all food types, not just sugar, and probably leads to overeating and poor choices. It plays a huge role in inflammation and auto immunity. There is no RDA for sugar. Yet the AHA recommends less than 30 or 35 grams, while I’ve read it should be drastically less than that, still.

A friend from Cameroon and I were talking about night time snacks, and she said she didn’t like to have pineapple as the last thing she eats at night because it’s too sweet. I thought the chances of hearing an American say that were pretty low. It is a sweet fruit, no doubt. But too sweet?

Gary Taubes is touring the country, you can follow him online. He’s honing his message for The Case Against Sugar book tour - basically he’s not saying anything that is really new, rather he’s resurrecting previous research that’s been buried by the case against overeating, sedentariness and fat, all of which he says have made us hungrier and fatter. He also implicates sugar in lung cancer related to smoking because of using sugar to cure tobacco which allowed / allows for longer and deeper draws.

HT said...

Someone did a study in NYC by swabbing the served lemons and found a lot of fecal matter on them. Thus, they surmised that maybe the slices were being placed into the drink by people with dirty hands.

Or the people who stocked the fruit in the store had dirty hands. Or the people that picked the fruit did. Or the people that packed it into crates. The food chain is a long one.

I've heard that lemon juice is somewhat of an anti-bacterial. How fortunate.

Achilles said...

who got paid to make that stupid graphic?

Jon Ericson said...


Bad Lieutenant said...

harryo said...
A lot of people don't know this. But high fructose corn syrup causes gout and kidney stones.

nobody told my mother this, so what is your authority?

Bob said...

Most high-fructose corn syrup used in soft drinks is 55% fructose (hence, the mixture is known as HFCS 55). This is a higher percentage than table sugar, which is 50% each glucose and fructose bound into molecules of sucrose.


I share the concerns of others here (especially Gabriel and tim in vermont) who think sugar in either state is bad stuff. The line of thinking I follow is that ancestral man fed in an environment with virtually no sugar. That is the environment in which we evolved and the environment to which we're biologically adapted. The avalanche of sugar that now hits us daily is a big strain on our metabolisms far beyond the impact of mere "calories". Some people cope with it better than others, but over the long haul it biases us toward metabolic syndrome and diabetes, which are rare among people eating their native, non-sugary diets. The damage it does can ultimately make all carbs fattening. I stay away from it except in very small doses in high cocoa mass chocolate and prepared meats here and there.

Bob said...

By the way, HT mentioned Gary Taubes and his book tour. Here is a video of a recent talk he gave.


harryo said...

Bad Lieutenant said...
harryo said...
A lot of people don't know this. But high fructose corn syrup causes gout and kidney stones.

nobody told my mother this, so what is your authority?

anecdotal. I see a rheumatologist. I had gout and kidney stones. I was addicted to soda pop and juices. When they checked my uric acid it was very high. I am now taking allopurinol. You take this for life, as the damage has been done.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/all-about-gout :

"High fructose intake was linked to gout in a Choi-led study published in 2008. Uric acid is one of the products of fructose metabolism, and there's good evidence from controlled feeding studies that fructose increases uric acid levels in the blood."

In the study, Mary E. Choi hedges a bit, saying the data still requires more study, but there's enough evidence that intervention in a high fructose patient is needed.

Fructose is NOT the Same as Glucose

HFCS contains the same two sugars as sucrose but is more metabolically risky to you, due to its chemical form.

The fructose and the glucose are not bound together in HFCS, as they are in table sugar, so your body doesn’t have to break it down. Therefore, the fructose is absorbed immediately, going straight to your liver.

Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium -- and in fact, every living thing on the Earth -- uses glucose for energy.

When you consume fructose, 100 percent of it goes directly to your liver to be metabolized. This is why it is a hepatotoxin -- it overloads the liver.

Fructose is immediately converted to fructose-1-phosphate (F1P), depleting your liver cells of phosphates.

The above process produces waste products in the form of uric acid. Uric acid blocks an enzyme that makes nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is your body's natural blood pressure regulator, so when it is blocked, your blood pressure rises -- leading to hypertension. Elevated uric acid levels can also cause gout.

The point to take away is: consuming fructose is consuming fat. Fructose is not really a carbohydrate -- a high fructose diet is a HIGH FAT diet. A high-fat diet that creates a vicious cycle of consumption that won't turn itself off.

By comparing the metabolism of fructose with the metabolism of ethanol they are very similar. In fact, when you compare the metabolism of 150 calories of soda with 150 calories of beer (a 12 ounce can of each), about 90 calories reach the liver in either case. Fructose causes most of the same toxic effects as ethanol because both come from sugar fermentation.

Both ethanol metabolism and fructose metabolism lead to visceral adiposity (belly fat), insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Bottom line, if you look up uric acid in google, the information is overwhelming. And not just from quack marketers.

Jose_K said...

So what? poison tastes good

Jose_K said...

BTW. outside the USA , they use real sugar. Protectionism forces to use corn

HT said...

Juice has been on a downward trend, this is well-known. From 2003 to 2010, kids (at least) are drinking a third of the amount of juice they were drinking previously.