I’ve seen these futuristic, video game-like machines twice in the past week, so I figured it was time to do a little research and figure out what was new in the world of pop (I’m from the Midwest. It’s pop to me).
Meet Coca-Cola Freestyle. Maybe you already have… according to Wikipedia, these touch screen soda dispensers were released by Coca-Cola to stores in June of 2010. But I am old, and my kid is still too young, so I am out of touch with what's hot in the junk food world.
These machines offer over 100 different flavors of beverage, and market them as being “made for you.” It’s a genius idea. If I were seven years old, hanging out at a Freestyle machine and choosing flavors with my friends would probably be really fun and cool. It’s like this generation’s version of going to 711 and mixing all the soda fountain flavors together into one big plastic cup.
Nutritionally, though, these machines are a disaster. Apparently there are over 60 diet and/or low-calorie flavors, which screams artificial sugars. And the ones using real sugar are still packed with real sugar, as well as artificial flavors and colors.
You know all of this though. Soft drinks are very harmful to our health, whether we are drinking an original Coke or a Caffeine-Free Diet Coke with Raspberry Orange flavoring. I just wanted to write about this to bring it to your attention. Just when it seems like we are gaining some momentum in the world of nutrition with things like organic gardens at elementary schools and gluten-free options on chain restaurant menus, something like this pops up. To me, the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is just a reminder that we need to continue to educate ourselves and our families on the importance of nutrition, and make a consistent effort to incorporate fresh, healthy foods into our diets. No matter how much publicity healthy eating receives, there will always be equally strong pulls in the other direction. The more we know, the easier it is to choose wisely!