Punished for drinking water

In Environment(al) on March 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Fresh from Spring Break, I returned to the good ole Reitz Union for a cheeseburger and fries from Cheeburger Cheeburger, possibly the least well known but most fun to say burger joint around.

Though I’m clearly not a health freak, I do try to stay away from soda, particularly its high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So I like to pair my cheeseburger with a water.

On this day, I had reason to require a bottle of water for portability reasons and couldn’t order my usual cup of tap water. When I asked for a bottle of water with my combo, to my surprise, the cashier told me she would be required to charge me an extra $1.

“So if I get a soda, it’s included, but if I want a bottled water, it’s a $1 extra, and if I want tap water, it’s free?”


In hindsight, this is probably due to the cost of the plastic bottle vs. the paper cup. But because I’m cheap, I felt that I was being ripped off and immediately ordered a Dr. Pepper.

But I felt completely punished for trying to be just slightly healthier and avoid some sugar.

In fact, I am not crazy. There is a push for sugar.

The corn refiners association has recently launched an entire website devoted to defending HFCS and promoting a name change to “corn sugar” to dodge the negative connotations now associated with HFCS.

Corn refiners industry "corn sugar" website

Though there are studies, such as the one from Princeton that found that HFCS did contribute to weight gain, I’m not here to nitpick HFCS vs. sugar.

The point is that refined sugars in general aren’t super healthy. Weight gain is one issue. Dental decay is another. And a depressed immune system yet another negative effect of the tons and tons of sugar consumed annually.

And what is with all of this flavored water crap? It is insanely sweet and tastes like a headache. I don’t want a FlavorSplash Splenda-infused water. I just want to hydrate.

You have the right idea Wyoming, Montana, parts of Alabama and parts of Idaho, where this beverage is not available. (Look for part 2 where I figure out why not.)

So that’s what I get for not carrying a reusable bottle, I guess: Dr. Pepper and the sniffles.

Something as simple as adding filtered water to the drink menu and not serving it in ridiculously small lidless cups could go a long way in supporting water as a healthy option when ordering in a lunch line.

Instead of browbeating water into a position as a second-class beverage, it needs to be elevated to the status of a full-class drinking option.


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