Ten, Two, Four

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

Heidi’s post today that mentioned soda reminded me of something. Recently there was an episode of Mad Men (see photo above) that was set in 1963 and featured a vintage Dr. Pepper machine (vending 10-ounce glass bottles) in the waiting room of a hospital. Now, there are some people who doubt the historical veracity of that; evidently those machines were common down south and possibly out west then, but almost unheard-of in New York City, where Mad Men is set. But the machine is true to period, and so is its logo, which says “10 2 4.”

Know what those numbers mean? Those were the times of day — 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM — that one was encouraged to down one of those tasty-ass beverages. Yes, all three! According to the Dublin Dr. Pepper site, this was based on research from the 1920s that demonstrated that people who had something to eat or drink at those times of day were more alert and productive on the job — regardless of whether it involved manual labor or not — and shortly after that research came out, Dr. Pepper came out with the “10, 2, 4” slogan, which was in use for a good 40 years. Evidently, nobody thought it was evil then to encourage people to drink 30 ounces of sugared soda a day. Gasp! The utter decadence of it!

What I want to know is, if we’re all such giant lardfactories because of soda, why were people thinner in the “10, 2, 4” era? Is it really the corn syrup? Then how do you explain us fatasses who hardly ever consume HFCS? (I avoid it mostly because of taste; to me, all soda sweetened with HFCS tastes the same. And I see no reason to dump it into things like soup and crackers just to get rid of it.) And if it’s not All About the Calories, if it’s actually the chemical content of corn syrup as opposed to cane sugar that’s so fattening, then isn’t the “100 extra calories a day is the difference between a thin person and a lardbutt” meme propagated by cities like New York to justify slapping calorie counts on everything in giant neon, just so much stinky hot gas?

Not that I want soda (of any kind) three times a day, mind you; that’s too much belching for me. But I can remember a Miller beer ad from my childhood encouraging people to drink “beer after beer” and a radio ad for Coke saying that since it was sweetened with pure cane sugar, “you can drink as much as you like.” Just imagine anyone coming out with an ad like that now.

Posted in etc.. 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Ten, Two, Four”

  1. lilacsigil Says:

    We do have ads in Australia for “Sugar: a natural part of life” to encourage people to use sugar rather than artificial sweeteners! Then again, we have a sugar cane industry rather than a corn industry to support.

  2. La di Da Says:

    Yeah, I remain skeptical that HFCS is Pure Evil, because there are plenty of Western countries that have similar ‘obesity’ and illness rates to the US, but don’t use HFCS much or at all.

  3. jl3wis Says:

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful or trollish, but didn’t they also put cocaine in soda back then?

    Or was that just Coca-Cola? Somehow I doubt it would only stop there..


    I mean, they SAY it was removed..but..ya never know…

  4. meowser Says:

    That was just Coca-Cola. They took cocaine out of the formula in 1903 (source), and after that used “spent” (non-intoxicating) leaves. (Today they still use coca as a flavoring agent, but a specially bred leaf that contains no cocaine.) It’s a proprietary formula, so I don’t think anyone else copied it — no major manufacturers, anyway.

  5. wriggles Says:

    What I’ve never quite grasped is if our food has to be converted into sugar for the body to be able to make use of it.
    Why then, directly ingesting sugar is supposed to be toxic.

  6. Emerald Says:

    lilacsigil, our National Sugar Council (I think that’s what they were called) used to put out ads like those. I haven’t seen one in years, though. They caused some trouble in our house, because the ‘your body NEEDS sugar!’ message had so rubbed off on my mother that she refused to countenance me stopping taking sugar in my tea. (Didn’t like it; never had much of a sweet tooth.)

    As for Coke, I have a magazine ad from 1955 that describes it as “Delicious, quick refreshment – with a wholesome bit of energy.” Not sure that ‘wholesome’ is a word they’d use for Coke these days either. (The energy=good, calories=bad dichotomy was also in full swing by then, obviously.)

  7. sannanina Says:

    @wriggles: Actually, fat is metabolized directly for energy without being converted to sugar and amino acids from protein are usually not metabolized for energy (but used to build new proteins instead). It’s only complex carbohydrates that are routinely broken down to simple sugars and eventually metabolized to glucose.
    That said, I am skeptical about the “sugar makes you addicted and sick” messages, too. Sure, sugar in contrast to more complex carbohydrates causes a much faster rise and then, once insulin levels rise, drop in blood glucose levels simply because it is digested and converted to glucose much faster. And that might have some negative consequences. Plus, eating too much of any macronutrient is probably not such a good idea (I doubt that huge amounts of protein are good for most people). But claiming that eating sugar – no matter in which quantity – is bad for you? Why, we evolved to eat fruit among other things, and fruit is sweet because it contains sugar.

  8. wriggles Says:


    Thanks for that, I’m going to have to delve a bit deeper into how our food is metabolised, hopefully I won’t have to encounter too much obesity rubbish, which actually causes my brain to virtually shut down nowadays!

    I get though that sugar will cause a quick metabolic reaction in a healthy system, it has to be dealt with immediately, that for me is the point, it is ready energy.

    It’s why this is supposed to be more negative than the breaking down of complex carbs that seems more elusive.

    I think you are right that eating too much of a macronutrient may not be good, but the body has remedies for this, when we’ve had enough, we tend to feel that things taste too sweet.

    Maybe, we ought to emphasise that to children especially, encouraging them to pay attention to when things turn from enjoyably sweet, to sickly sweet.

    Maybe this will avoid any potential to go beyond this point and allow any potential their palates have to adjust upward to be avoided-I think that varies from person to person though (who knows whether that tells it’s own story?)

  9. Cassi Says:

    I watched a fascinating show on PBS (probably Nova, but I’m not sure) the other day on epigenetics wherein scientists are postulating that the food supply that one’s paternal grandparents experienced (famine at certain times, abundance at others) seemed to correlate to weight differences two generations later. So maybe all that Dr Pepper that my granny drank is why I’m such a lardass!

    The research was fascinating, but I could just hear the concern trolls screaming, “But what about the GRANDchildren!!”

  10. Cassi Says:

    It’s why this is supposed to be more negative than the breaking down of complex carbs that seems more elusive.

    I’m not a nutritionist, but my understanding is that the insulin system isn’t quite geared for refined carbs. Even fruit, which is very sweet, isn’t as much ready sugar as refined cane, or even white bread. Thus, the insulin system seeing a sudden large influx assumes that it’s a small part of an enormous amount of calories that are about to come in. You start pumping out insulin at a large rate to deal with calories that never materialize. Your bg goes up high, then plummets to lower than before. That’s the crash that many people experience after eating sweets that aren’t part of a meal.

    I’m not sure I’m explaining this well, but you could try scooting over to Michelle’s site (the fat nutritionist) and ask her. I’m sure she could give you anything you need with no fat shaming involved.

  11. wriggles Says:

    The way you’ve explained it is really clear and sounds familiar in parts especially the ‘crashing’ element.

    Incidentally, do you remember that crashing as a kid? Because I certainly don’t. I do remember feeling it when I was trying to lose weight though, through healthy eating and exercise, I crashed like a crackhead-I’m afraid healthy living turned me into a compulsive eater.

    Since I slowly jettisoned that ideology and some foodphobia, I found at a certain point that my reaction to sugar altered.

    You know how they say you eat with your eyes and taste with your sense of smell?

    Well it seems you eat your own opinions on food with your food too!

  12. Cassi Says:

    Wriggles, I know what you mean about children not experiencing the sugar crash, although most children that I know would never try (or be allowed) to go for hours on nothing but coffee and a danish, so it’s hard to tell. As for me, I’m a type I diabetic and have been since I was 5, so my reactions to sugar aren’t really a useful guide, because my bg just plain does not come down unless I program my insulin pump to make it come down.

  13. wriggles Says:

    Your mentioning that you are a type 1 diabetic, reminds me that at least some of these theories on sugar metabolism may well about extrapolating from if not both types of diabetes, then certainly, type 2.

    This is something that is bound to happen; in general finding out atypical ways the body functions can tell more about how it actually works, than when it functions as expected.

    There was a corner fighting – and for all I know still is- for fatness and probably type 2 to be seen as one condition called ‘diabesity’.

  14. Heidi Says:

    I think that the sugar “crash” probably is overhyped (ha!) to a large degree but as someone with PCOS (and probably insulin resistance issues), I do have to be careful not to have sugar too early in the morning or it does cause a crash – certainly nothing like as severe as for a diabetic but drowsiness in particular. My mornings are protein-filled as a result.

    With regard to kids, I don’t think it’s necessary to teach them the difference between sweet and sickly sweet, honestly – my son has an incredible built-in instinct about food (and I have to think the majority of kids do). If he hits the point where he’s full/had enough, he’ll stop, even if what he’s eating is cake and ice cream. Although I encourage him to fill up on more “nutritious” foods at meals, we provide him with plenty of sweet snacks and he shows no signs of losing that inbuilt stop-mechanism. He had a kid’s meal with choc milk, chicken nuggets, and fries yesterday…normally he devours the fries first but he’s on a protein kick this week and went through the chicken nuggets instead. He also left a good long swallow of chocolate milk, when he could easily have finished it if he’d wanted it. The fries were mostly uneaten.

    I don’t think we have anything to teach kids…it’s what they learn from us that goes against their innate body/hunger messages that is the issue (and the stuff I need to UNlearn as part of my disordered eating recovery).

  15. Blimp Says:

    I love those old food ads that unabashedly appeal to our palate and our hunger. But those sodas are like ice cream without cream. Better to consume them with cream.

  16. Heidi Says:

    FYI, there appear to be only two fats in Seattle (me, and one other person who replied), so I guess there will be no group meetups! I’d still love to get together with you at some point, if you are so inclined, the next time you make your way up here!

  17. meowser Says:

    Sounds great, Heidi. I might well be going up there again in a couple of months, and when I do I’ll be in touch.

  18. wriggles Says:

    With regard to kids, I don’t think it’s necessary to teach them the difference between sweet and sickly sweet, honestly – my son has an incredible built-in instinct about food (and I have to think the majority of kids do).

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I wasn’t saying that kids need to be taught this-although I can understand you thinking that, the overwhelming message we’re given nowadays is that we are innately and widely greedy and will eat ourselves to death given the tiniest opportunity blah, blah.

    That instinct, is sugar satiety, things becoming sickly sweet is the measure of that satiety. I think it’s innate in all of us, but it can become compromised by things such as what you rightly call hype, and the needs, dictates, constraints of others, in this case adults.

    By underlining this instinct, bringing it to the conscious attention of children, you hopefully, protect it from being usurped or derailed by unnecessary interference, strengthening that connection.

    I’m saying, let’s tell kids, listen to your body, it knows, this is what it can do naturally, therefore they can have confidence that their bodies work. Rather than the current message that the body somehow cannot be trusted to know it’s/ our needs without interference from know-it-alls.

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