The Truth About Sugary Drinks

There's no sugar coating it. Drinking too much sugary soda pop leads to all sorts of health problems—none of which result in happy endings.

by John D. Ivanko

There’s no sugar coating it. Drinking too much sugary soda pop leads to all sorts of health problems—none of which result in happy endings. While we serve our homemade rhubarb fizz as a refreshing beverage to our guests during the early summer at our bed-and-breakfast, we don’t make it a daily or even weekly habit. Soda is an occasional treat. That said, our rhubarb fizz is not made with high-fructose corn syrup (the main GMO ingredient for most sugary drinks). Our fizz is just a mixture of soda water and a syrup we make with our fresh organic rhubarb and sugar from a Fair Trade-certified, organic sugar cane from Wholesome Sweeteners, a minimally processed replacement for cane sugar.

A new video, The Real Bears, just released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest approaches the reality that sugary drinks are the No. 1 source of calories in the American diet in a light, if not humorous, way. What better a day to share this than today on National Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement promoting healthy, affordable and sustainable food. We’ll be giving several presentations at the free Local Food Day event in Viroqua, Wis., today; hope you can join us if you’re in the area. Check the National Food Day website for events in your area.

One can argue that The Real Bears is not a kids’ video, entertaining but addressing serious issues, so watch it first before deciding whether to share it with the younger members of your family. There’s plenty of research on the website to back up the reality that drinking even one sugary drink a day can lead to health issues, not to mention loss of limb and costly medical bills.

Here’s our recipe for Rhubarb Fizz (with Rhubarb Syrup) from our cookbook, Farmstead Chef, if you’d like to make your own.

Recipe: Rhubarb Fizz

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Rhubarb Fizz. Photo courtesy Hemera/Thinkstock (
Courtesy Hemera/Thinkstock

Yield: 8 servings


  • 12 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 liters unflavored seltzer water

In a crock pot or large saucepan over low heat, cook rhubarb and water for approximately 2 hours or until rhubarb is a soft pulp. Drain out pulp and place warm liquid in large bowl. Stir in sugar until completely dissolved. This is your rhubarb syrup.

For each individual serving, add ice to glass then pour rhubarb syrup to about half full. Top with seltzer water and stir. Experiment with how sweet you like your drink, adding syrup or seltzer water accordingly.

Cooking Tip: Freezing rhubarb syrup is a cinch and allows you to use it at a later point for this soda pop.

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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