Last Year’s Speech (’14-’15)

I promised you all last year that at the end of the year I would post my speech here so that you could be convicted of drinking sodas 😉 However, I realize that I never actually posted it, and in working on my speech for this year, I decided that you really must read my speech from last year! And while we’re at it, I’ll go ahead and tell you that at the end of this year, I will allow y’all to read this year’s speech which is: How Books Influence the World. Yep. All of you readers (and writers) may want to tune into  this one!

Anywho, without further ado, below is my 2014-2015 Original Oratory on Sodas and Caffeine.

Rayleigh A Gray

Club 415 Speech- Original Oratory

September 16, 2014

Do you know what you’re drinking? Rachel did. She knew that drinking sodas every day gave her a small boost of energy when her two children started wearing her down, but she also noticed that the sodas and coffee she drank gave her constant mood swings. She first noticed that her moodiness came from caffeine when she tried to stop drinking it. You see, her daughter had begun noticing what she drank daily and was beginning to acquire a taste for soda. Rachel didn’t want her daughter hooked on the caffeinated beverages at such a young age, so she stopped buying them, making them unavailable at home. However, the whole family continued to drink sodas every time they went out to eat. Rachel noticed that her mood would change, in a bad way, whenever she had that first soda after a few days of going without. So, she decided to challenge herself and stop drinking sodas completely and drinking hot tea, which still had a considerable amount caffeine, in its place. However, after a few times of drinking the hot tea, Rachel realized that her very young son, of whom she still nursed, had an allergic reaction to the caffeine. So she had to stop drinking anything with enough caffeine in it to cause her son to react, resorting her to water, or flavored water, ninety-nine percent of the time. Despite the sacrifice, she very quickly saw her moods changing for the better, she felt better throughout the day, her son was healthy, and she was able to be a better example for her children[1].

So, aside from what the label may say, do you truly know what ingredients are going into your body and bloodstream and are you conscious of how much? Do you know the signs and side effects of being addicted to caffeine for you personally? And, do you know how much money that you are spending on your favorite beverage? These are some of the questions that I am going to help you find the answers to today; in hopes of enlightening your knowledge of caffeine and hopefully, persuading you to at least cut back on the amount you consume.  I will begin by telling you why just one 12-oz can of soda, daily, can be harmful to your body, and why more than one is definitely not wise. I will then expound on why those who have been drinking sodas for long periods of time, find it difficult to stop drinking them and why it is even harder to stop drinking energy drinks. Finally, I will close by giving you some mind blowing numbers for the amount of money spent on these caffeinated beverages and the amount consumed on a yearly basis.

So, let’s begin with why just one can of Coca-Cola with your Cheeseburger is not the ideal choice of drink. Coca-Cola is the most sold, most consumed soda in America. In fact, according to E.J. Kahn Jr., in 1960, forty thousand Cokes were consumed every minute in America alone[2]. According to Kim Bhasin, today, 1.7 billion servings of Coca-Cola products are consumed every day[3]. So, what is Coca-Cola? What makes it so good that almost person in America has to have it daily? If you’re a die-hard Coca-Cola fan, then I’ll be honest, you will not want to know the answer! Coca-Cola, also called Coke, has just two main ingredients that make it so unique.  These two ingredients are phosphoric acid and caffeine. Phosphoric acid is simply acid that contains phosphorus. But, this definition is practically useless unless we know what phosphorus is, so, according to Dictionary.com, the definition of phosphorus is “a solid nonmetallic element existing in at least three forms, one that is yellow, poisonous, flammable, and luminous in the dark. One that is red, less poisonous, and less flammable. And another that is black, insoluble in most solvents and the least flammable….” Though I tried, I could not find anything telling me what color phosphorus is used in the phosphoric acid of which is used in Cokes, but, this particular phosphoric acid is a clear syrupy liquid that is the same as that of which is used to dissolve rust. In fact, it will dissolve a nail in 4 days!

I actually have an example of how fast and how powerful the acid in Cokes are. A few months ago, my dad had a terrible kidney stone. One of the worst he’s ever had, in fact. After hours of prolonged pain, my mom called our doctor to see if there was anything that could be done to speed up the process of passing it, without going to the hospital. Our doctor recommended drinking six Coca-Colas back to back in a time span of two hours, after that, drink 4-oz of puréed asparagus. Now, my dad had completely stopped drinking Coca-Colas about a year before, so he was not pleased to hear this, but he was ready to pass the kidney stone. So he started drinking them, attempting to drink a whole Coke every twenty minutes, however, at the end of two hours, he had only drank four and refused to even look at another one! Less than two hours later, though, the pain had already subsided almost completely. Four cans of Coca-Cola drank back to back completely dissolved the worst kidney stone that my dad had ever had! Do you remember that I mentioned my dad having to drink 4-oz of asparagus? The asparagus was prescribed to repair any other damage made by the Coke!

The second ingredient that I wish to discuss brings me to my second point, why are sodas and energy drinks so addictive? The answer is one word, caffeine. Caffeine is both water and fat soluble, meaning that once it has been absorbed by the bloodstream, it works super-fast, making its way to the brain and affecting the brain cells directly. Once in the brain, the caffeine blocks the receptors to a chemical called Adenosine. Adenosine is a molecule that helps slows down nerve activity in neural pathways. When Adenosine cannot get into the receptors, alertness is increased and large amounts of adrenaline are produced. To some people, this feels like energy, to others it just feels like anxiety, but either way, you typically feel exhausted once the caffeine effects have worn off, especially after large amounts were consumed. To avoid the “crash” after caffeine, people often continue consuming caffeine to prolong long the effects, when in all reality you are actually causing your brain cells to rely on the caffeine to function. You see, once your brain realizes that you have adenosine floating around in your brain doing nothing, it thinks that it doesn’t have enough receptors. So it begins making more by cutting off the receptors that receive adrenaline. Therefore, the more you drink, the longer it takes for caffeine to have an effect on you, causing you to drink more and more and slowly aiding to addiction, while at the same time, you are killing your adrenaline cells. So, how much is too much? Well, according to the Mayo Clinic website, one adult should absolutely never exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine in a twenty-four hour period[5]. This is enough caffeine to supply four cups of coffee, or ten cans of Coca-Cola, or two energy shot drinks. Though people very rarely drink more than ten cans of soda in a single day, how many energy drinks are consumed? More importantly, how many people have a cup or two of coffee in the morning, a cup or two of soda with lunch and/or dinner, and an energy drink or two throughout the day? As you can see, you can very quickly meet the limit when drinking multiple caffeinated beverages, especially when energy drinks are involved. Drinking this much caffeine in a single day, can most certainly aid in becoming reliant on it.

Now, onto my third and final point, sodas can get expensive. According to Business Time[6], sixty-five billion dollars are spent annually on sodas alone! This astounding amount of money is enough to buy around 53 gallons of soda for every person in America! To put this into perspective, 53 gallons will fill about 556 cans of soda that are priced at about $1.50 on average, give or take, causing the average American spend around $834 on sodas alone. And this is not even mentioning energy drinks or coffee, which are both actually much more expensive than the average soda. $834 may seem like a lot of money to some, to others, it is just a small amount that will never be missed, but either way, what could some of that money be spent on instead? Gas expenses? A charity? College books or maybe even a college course? If every person in America spared about the $3 a day they spend on soda and put that money in a savings account instead, a lot more people would be healthy and happy. For example, I’m sure we’ve all seen the television commercials that show starving children with an ad that says $1 will feed one child for a week. Your soda money could help a child live another week longer with food in their belly.

So, after hearing about what is put into Coca-Cola, what caffeine does to our bodies, and finally how much money is spent on these caffeinated beverages, I hope that I have convinced you to at least cut back on the amount of caffeine you consume and possibly to send a few dollars to a local charity, a feeding program in your city, or perhaps just helping out a friend. You will feel better physically without the caffeine, and better inside because you helped someone in need.


[1]: “I’m Free! How I Broke a 30-Year Caffeine and Soda Addiction.” Small Notebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 September 2014.

[2]: Kahn, E.J. Jr. “Foreword.” Foreword. For God, Country and Coca-Cola: The Unauthorized History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company that Makes it. New York: Scribner’s, 1993. xv. Print.

[3]: Bhasin, Kim. “15 Facts About Coca-Cola That Will Blow Your Mind.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 09 June 2011. Web. 02 September, 2014.

[4]: “Caffeine Nation.” CBS News. CBS News Interactive, n.d. Web. 02 September. 2014

[5]: “Nutrition and Healthy Eating.” Caffeine: How Much is Too Much? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 September. 2014

[6]: “How Much You Spend Each Year on Coffee, Gas, Christmas, Pets, Beer, and More | TIME.com.” Business Money How Much Money You Spend Each Year on Coffee, Gas, Christmas, Pets, Beer and More Comments. N.p, n.d. Web. 02 September. 2014

Thanks so much for reading!!


2 thoughts on “Last Year’s Speech (’14-’15)”

  1. Nice, Rayleigh! I knew it was bad for you and tried to avoid it, but I didn’t know some of the information mentioned here. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Your welcome!! I still drink sodas *regularly however not daily😉* but I typically stay away from energy drinks. I had fun presenting this speech and I hope that I’ll have as much fun presenting this year’s! Thanks for stopping by!

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