A Nutritionist’s Point of View: World of Coca-Cola Tour

Coca-Cola Mural

A large painted mural inside the World of Coca-Cola.

Tax soda, subsidize vegetables. That was the key message in a The New York Times story I read this morning. We already pay taxes on booze and cigarettes, so why not tax soda and other drinks overloaded with sugar? Columnist Mark Bittman suggests that the revenues from junk food taxes could go towards subsidizing fruits and vegetables enabling more people to afford them. Are he and others recommending this onto something? At first, it sounded like a good idea, but I still contemplate the pros and cons.

Last week I celebrated a triennial family reunion in Georgia at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, a sprawling playground located an hour from Atlanta. We thought spending one day in the city would be a nice break from the sun.

Display of Coca-Cola brands of the past and present.

I relish the taste and buzz of a Diet Coke occasionally, so getting an inside look into this soft drink that is the second most consumed in the nation sounded like an interesting and good time. My request for permission to take photos as a blogger inside the World of Coca-Cola resulted in a guided complementary tour for my family and me.

Here are a few fascinating facts:

  • You can recycle the cap of a plastic Coke bottle, which falls into category 2. This differs from many other caps which fit into higher categories that many recyclers will not process.
  • The ideal temperature to enjoy a Coke is 36 degrees Fahrenheit, lower than a refrigerator that cools food to 40 degrees. Now I know why a Coke pulled from an ice chest tastes so unbelievably good.
  • The rumors are true. The original Coke formula actually contained trace amounts of cocaine since it derived from the coca plant (not to be confused with cocoa). Food scientists reformulated that version for obvious reasons.
  • Our very nice escort mentioned how I’m not alone in reporting how a Diet Coke seems to relieve headaches and nausea. This and the notion of Diet Coke combating nausea are purely observational.
  • Dasani bottled water is sourced from one of seven regional bottlers across the nation. I know that one is in Phoenix, so filled bottles don’t travel nearly as far as I imagined. Let me be clear in saying, though, that I don’t support the regular use of bottled water since tap water, filtered when necessary, reigns as a more sustainable, economical choice. I will admit to drinking bottled water on occasion, like when staying at a hotel where the water tastes like a lake or chlorinated pool.

Before heading into the tasting room, I lounged in the Pop Culture Gallery on this sofa from the American Idol red room’s 2004 season. I couldn’t resist.

We concluded our tour in the tasting room, where soda fountain islands representing different continents and countries showcase the different Coca-Cola brands. Italy serves up Beverly. Kids ran up to this dispenser and told their friends, “Try this one. It’s disgusting!” I happened to like its floral notes deriving from quinine, a key ingredient in tonic water. This clear sparkling aperitif is not sweet, which leads me to believe it contains few calories.

Now here’s a trip down memory lane. TaB. I can’t recall ever trying this before. The saccharin in it scares me but it did taste good and sweet.

The Brazilian isle offered Peach Light Nestea. I loved its intense fruity flavor.

This Ciel Aquarius is Mexico’s sweet hibiscus drink. I adore hibiscus tea, so really enjoyed this one. I’m guessing it wasn’t low calorie.

For anyone who enjoys Coke products, I recommend visiting the World of Coca-Cola to learn about the innovation, history, and fun of this iconic brand.

And what do you think about the idea of an excise tax on junk food? Would it affect your purchasing decisions?

Clarifications: Cocaine has never been an added ingredient in Coca-Cola or any of their products.

Corrections: Our escort did not confirm (my misunderstanding) that Diet Coke relieves nausea and headaches. It is purely observational.

Disclosure: Coca-Cola gave me a gift certificate to their store. They did not compensate me to include them in this blog post.


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Chocolate: A Few of My Favorite Things

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  1. Kimberly H. says:

    That looks like such a fun tour! Yes…I think a tax on junk food in general is a great idea. It’s worth a try at least!

    1. Yes, it will be intriguing to see how it goes down.

  2. Rebecca says:

    It might for a few sub-populations – individuals of lower SES, for instance. I buy the odd treat, but generally I steer clear of junk food. What specific types of foods are they considering taxing? Criteria? What about places like bakeries or cafes?

    1. Hi Rebeca,

      It sounds like the taxes would be for packaged, highly processed foods with minimal nutritional value and excess added sugars and/or solid fats. Regular soda and drinks with sugar added would be one group I read about. That raises an interesting question though, what about at a bakery making homemade birthday cake? I don’t know how far proponents want to take it. I say tax the foods that have no nutritional benefit, like regular soda. But then we’ll probably see nutrients being added to soda! They need to bring in some unbiased experts to make the decision. Marion Nestle, perhaps?

      And thank you for your compliment about my dress. I bought it from Victorias Secret:) The first time I bought clothing from there. Love the dress. Hate ironing it!


  3. Rebecca says:

    Love your dress, by the way! 🙂

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