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From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: rec.drugs.chemistry,,sci.chem,
Subject: Re: phosphoric acid
Date: 14 Mar 1999 08:07:15 GMT

In <> (Kolaga Xiuhtecuhtli) writes:

>On Sun, 14 Mar 1999 00:55:01 GMT, wrote:
>>This chemical is contained in soda like coke.
>>What is its effects ?
>I think it's there for the bubbles...

  No, it's an acid put there to make the stuff taste tart (sour).  Both
carbonic acid and phosphoric acid taste much the same and are cheaper
than citric and ascorbic acids, which are in so many kinds of fruit
that we primates have developed a taste for acids, when combined with
sweetness.  Soft drinks are basically fake fruit juices for
large-brained monkeys.  The carbonation in your soft drink, the alcohol
in your wine, and the mint in your toothpaste will all disgust your cat
no end.  But alcohol and acid, and flavors like mint and cola are all
very common in fruits.

                                   Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: rec.drugs.chemistry,,sci.chem,
Subject: Re: phosphoric acid
Date: 16 Mar 1999 03:48:18 GMT

In <> Bret Wood
<> writes:

>"Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>> (Kolaga Xiuhtecuhtli) writes:
>> >
>> >I think it's there for the bubbles...
>>   No, it's an acid put there to make the stuff taste tart (sour). Both
>> carbonic acid and phosphoric acid taste much the same and are cheaper
>> than citric and ascorbic acids. . . . .
><rest snipped>
>Actually, the carbonic acid IS for the bubbles.  (Although the
>question was just about phosphoric acid.)

   Actually, both.  CO2 comes out of solution and goes up the back of
your "nose" (oropharynx), giving you an acid sensation which is not
duplicatable using any other gas soluble enough to give fizz like that.
The acid properties of CO2 gas when it hits water are indispensible.

>I was once told that carbonated drinks used to be made by dissolving
>carbonic acid in the drink.  But, since I don't think that you can
>isolate solid H2CO3, I suspect that sodium carbonate, or sodium
>bicarbonate and some acid were added, so that they would create
>carbonic acid in the solution.

    They add CO2 under pressure.

> (I've never seen solid H2CO3,
>and a quick search of several on-line chemical supply companies
>revealed that no-one sells solid H2CO3 either.)

   No, under normal pressures, 99% of it breaks down to CO2 and H2O at
equalibrium.  The CO2 stays in solution, however, so long as the
partial pressure of the CO2 stays at about 1 atm.  In your soft drink
can there are about 100 molecules of CO2 floating around disolved in
the water, for every molecule of H2CO3.

>Now, they just bottle it under positive carbon dioxide pressure.
>In essence it's the same thing, since CO2 and H2C03 are in
>equilibrium in aqueous solution.
>CO2 + H2O <====> H2CO3

   Yes, but again remember that most of the CO2 in the liquid is CO2,
not H2CO3.

>Perhaps the bubbles are popular because of the sensation, AND the
>taste.  Also, that would tend to answer a question which has been
>in the back of my mind for quite a while....  Do carbonated drinks
>really TASTE different after they go flat, or is it just that the
>sensation of drinking them is different.

   Sour is a sensation.  If you mean the mechanical fizz when pressure
is removed, you could get that with any disolvable tasteless gas, such
as Xenon or N2O.  The tartness you could reproduce with another acid.
I think you'd come close to soft drink taste, but there's still the
matter of acid produced in the back of your throat and high in your
nose where liquid doesn't go, that is hard reproduce with anything but
CO2.    Hmmm.  Maybe a bit of SO2?

>  Since a flat carbonated
>drink will have less carbonic acid, (since it has less carbon
>dioxide, and the two chemicals are in equilibrium.) then I guess
>it would affect the taste.
>-Bret "ex-chemist" Wood

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: phosphoric acid
Date: 16 Mar 1999 03:49:32 GMT

In <> Bret Wood
<> writes:

> wrote:
>>    As to it's negative effects on teeth, bones, stomach lining, and Calcium
>> absorption, I can't state with any certainty.  I wouldn't drink it on
>> an empty stomach, myself.
>Did you ever do the "nail in a glass of Coke" trick?
>Supposedly the cola will dissolve the nail overnight.  (Overnight
>seems a bit fast to me, but I've never actually done it myself.)
>As for phosphoric acid and stomach lining, our stomachs are full of
>HCl anyway.  Drinking Coke on an empty stomach can give you a nasty
>case of heartburn, but I suspect it would take a lot of Coke to
>seriously screw up your stomach's pH.  (But then what do I know about
>stomach chemistry.... :)
>BTW, does anyone know the approximate pH of the solution in a human
>stomach?  (empty, or just after a large meal?)
>-Bret Wood

   It's about pH 1.   Way below soft drinks.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: rec.drugs.chemistry,,sci.chem,
Subject: Re: phosphoric acid
Date: 19 Mar 1999 10:44:09 GMT

In <7cr9bk$27b4$1@uvaix7e1.comp.UVic.CA> mskala@csc.UVic.CA () writes:

>CO2 is not exactly tasteless; it irritates the mucous membranes (possibly
>by dissolving in them and creating acid?  I'm not sure of that) and
>produces a very distintive sensation.

    Yeah.  Looking at what I wrote, it certainly gives the wrong
impression.  A breath of CO2 can be agony.

>This is easy to observe if you drink pop out of a bottle that's nearly
>empty and inhale some of the gas that collects above the liquid.  This is
>why CO2 is poisonous in large enough doses; a CO2/O2 atmosphere won't
>support you even if it contains the right amount of O2.

   Yep.  You're dead if you breathe more than about 10% CO2, in fact,
and at risk above 7%.

>As for Xe, I've heard it referred to as an anaesthetic, and that suggests
>some biological activity, although that doesn't make much sense as it
>doesn't react with anything.  I could have heard wrong, or it could be
>that it does something "mechanical" like dissolving in your blood and
>unbalancing other solution equilibria.  (?)

   Xenon is about as good an anaesthetic as nitrous oxide, which is to
say-- not good enough for major surgery on its own, unless used
hyperbarically-- but still suprisingly active.  Like nitrous, it will
give a pretty deep obtundation at 80% mix, in many people.  The action
of xenon is thought to be "mechanical" (if there is such a thing in the
quantum world of atomic interactions, by disolving in the lipid bilayer
of neurons, causing them to depolarize.  Anaesthetics are active at
about the same ratios they partition between water and oil.  The oil
apparently is like your neuronal membranes.  Many anaesthetics probably
don't work "chemically" (in the sense of forming a new covalent bond or
binding to a specific receptor).

>Anyway, it's not smart to go inhaling random gasses, and when we've been
>doing something one way for a long time (such as CO2 in pop) it is
>sometimes not a completely arbitrary choice.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Diet Soft drinks
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 01:30:17 -0700
Message-ID: <b739ur$f4v$>
> On Wed, 09 Apr 2003 23:56:39 -0400, Andrei Prokopiw
> <Andrei.Prokopiw**NOSPAM**> wrote:
> >    What are the main health concerns of soft drinks aside from sugar, i.e.
> >Diet soft drinks. I hear the acid can cause problems with calcium
> >absorption, but haven't read anything significant or official on this.


Rather, it's the free mineral acid (phosphoric) which has to
be buffered in your urine to be excreted. Soda ends up
effectively increasing your body's mineral acid load, and
thus your calcium *excretion.*

Both the phosphoric and the carbonic acid in pop chew on
your tooth enamel, and the sugar provides bacteria in your
mouth with substrate to produce lactic acid which does the
same. Though to be fair, sugared cereals are far worse
offenders as bacterial fodder than sugared drinks and juices
(at least in non bottlefed adults).

Finally, it's not completely clear that low cal soda pops
with aspartame are safe when drunk in quantity on an empty
stomach. The animal studies don't really address this, and
aspartame's access to the brain as a neurotransmitter analog
would be expected to be hugely influenced by the competition
in amino acid pumps, ie, what else you're eating. So until
we know the answers, I would recommend any sugar-free soda
be drunk with meals, and if you must have pop between meals,
make it the regular kind.

Don't get me wrong. I don't that sodapop is the ultimate
dietary evil of our modern food industry. That role is
already taken by trans-fats/hydrogenated oils <g>.

I'm just offended by how much money is spent on sodapop for
*completely* empty fake fruit juice that rots your bones.
Your monkey genes THINK you're drinking fruit juice, you
see, even though the phytochemicals are missing. Just like
your genes they think that the Crisco you're sucking down is
really DHA containing marrow or brain from that large animal
kill. It's all deception.

From the TV we watch in place of real community
relationships, to the cosmetics we apply to make your skin
look younger, it's all lies. We live immersed in cheap and
tawdry ways to fool our genes, and then fool our genes again
when it comes time for payback. One of the few genuine
things we do in a day is move our bowels, and due to the
large number of fake foods most of us eat, even that doesn't
work that well.  Thus, the Aisle of Artificial Laxatives...*


* Out in the English Channel somewhere, so I hear.

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