Published On: Mon, Mar 30th, 2009

So What’s Really In a Mountain Dew?

Mountain DewSpeaking about soft drinks in Africa, Uganda just got its first taste of my favorite drink last year and already it’s outgrown all expectations. So much that the company selling it, Crown Beverages Limited (CBL), the makers of Pepsi-Cola products in Uganda, opened a new state-of-the-art packaging line to expand capacity by 80 percent!

But who’s surprised that Mountain Dew is fast becoming a favorite?

It’s simply the best drink out there — non-alcoholic that is. Even though soft drink sales in the U.S. declined 3 percent in 2008, Mountain Dew actually grew 4 percent [link to source no longer available but I promise that’s what it said!].

And now adding Africa to the mix, everyone’s going to be doing the Dew…

“The demand for Mountain Dew outstripped supply. Demand was four times what we had planned for,” Simon Lugoloobi, CBL’s chief executive officer, said. “It is a problem we have been dealing with, we have been able to overcome it and right now we are in a position to give the market the supply of Mountain Dew that it requires.”

So, out of pure curiosity, I looked up what was in this addictively refreshing drink. The caffeine is a given [55.2 mg per 12 oz, but I have no idea how much that really is]. The high fructose corn syrup I assumed [6.5 teaspoons of it]. But what exactly is sodium benzoate?

According to the parenthesis on the can, this ingredient “preserves freshness”. It contains Benzoic acid, which is the result of dissolving sodium benzoate in acidic conditions- it’s an antimicrobial agent. This means that sodium benzoate prevents microbes from drinking all your Mountain Dew before you get a chance to. It also exists (in varying quantities) in car exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, and even some berries.

Car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke have sodium benzoate in it?

Well, moving on, Mountain Dew also contains Sodium Citrate [also found in Red Bull] which gives it its Lemon-Lime flavor. Sodium Citrate also is used as a stool softener [so that explains it!] and is highly combustible in its pure form.

Gum Arabic is the ingredient that was used on lickable stamps, cigarette papers and was produced in Sudan by Osama bin Laden. When there was a public outcry [I must’ve been on the toilet and missed that headliner], Snapple just changed the name of it on its label to gum acacia.

Brominated Vegetable Oil is like the super glue of the Dew. It keeps everything from separating by keeping it all the same density. Bromine comes from sea water and in its liquid or vaporous form, it’ll kill you.

Prior to 1975, you could make sedatives out of it but once when droves of overmedicated people were wheeled into psychiatric facilities, diagnosed as loony but actually suffering from bromism — so much serum bromide that they couldn’t stand up or remember their names.

But the huge [excuse the pun] mystery is Yellow 5, also known as tartrazine. For the record the Yellow 5 in Mountain Dew doesn’t shrink your balls or lower your sperm count [I’m a witness]. It was probably the “Make 7 Up Yours” folks who started this rumor. But even if your manhood stays the same, some people are still sensitive to tartrazine.

You could be one of the 360,000 Americans who are “Tartrazine Sensitive”; any exposure to the chemical and there are nasty side effects. If you’re friends calls you up and complain of purple skin patches, feelings of suffocation and itches, tell him to lay off the dew, and the other thousands of products that contain yellow 5.

Yummy! Delicious!

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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