I read here and there that one of the dangers of drinks with sugar is that they give you calories without actually filling you up. So they’re as empty as empty calories can be. I don’t doubt that much. Refined sugar and corn syrup and all that are definitely among the worst ways to spend one’s calories.

The claim, though, isn’t that they consume too many calories for too little in return. It’s that they do not satisfy hunger at all. That doesn’t seem to be true in my experience.

Whenever I’ve given up soft drinks in the past, one thing that I’ve noticed is that there is usually an uptick in my hunger. I don’t mean substituting sugar for sugar. That would make sense. Stop drinking coke, want candy bar. But stop drinking cokes, want any food you can get your hands on? I thought that maybe it had something to do with oral activity (the weight gain that often comes after quitting smoking gets attributed to that), but the hunger seems to come more from the stomach rather than the mouth. I do know the difference. Then I thought maybe it was psychosomatic, and maybe that’s part of it, but it’s usually something I notice in retrospect. I notice that I’ve been hungry for the last few days… then I look back and notice the soft drinks. False attribution, maybe. I also thought that it might be that I substitute soft drinks for diet soft drinks which contain antacids with can make you feel more hungry. Maybe that’s the case, though I’ve never noticed any difference based on whether or not I’m replacing the soft drinks with diet soft drinks or otherwise.

Then there was today. Today at around 6:30 or so I started getting hungry. I had half a Subway sandwich in the fridge, but I didn’t want to spoil my planned dinner for the night. So I decided to go to the vending machine and get a bit of beef jerky to tide me over. Except inexplicably there was a line at the vending machine six people long. So, realizing that I hadn’t consumed my daily quota of soft drinks for the day, I decided to go ahead and get a Mountain Dew and come back to the vending machine later.

Except that later I wasn’t hungry. Two hours later, I’m still not. This is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened to me. That I’ve been hungry, drank a coke, and then not been hungry anymore. That’s never happened with Diet Coke, and I didn’t drink the Mountain Dew with the expectation that it would fill me up, so it not really easy to chalk it up to my imagination.

So faced with the alleged fact that cokes do not satisfy hunger in any way, shape, or form… and faced with the alleged fact that Mountain Dew does seem to quench my hunger… I have no choice but to conclude that Mountain Dew has protein.

Category: Kitchen

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10 Responses to Mountain Dew’s Secret Ingredient

  1. Linus says:

    Hmm…not sure if your reasoning is too sound there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I normally eat breakfast around 6am, and often have a period of hunger around 10am that lasts up to half an hour. It usually ends after about half an hour, even if I don’t eat anything. So, at least for me, hunger is not something that continues until I eat something.

    A 12oz can of soda is 100-120 calories. As ~3-6% of your daily caloric intake, that should certainly affect hunger, at least in the short term. But the sugars are metabolized so fast that it ends up giving you a short-term jolt without longer-term benefit. Speaking of jolts, I’ve noticed that I don’t get hungry when I’ve got a caffeine buzz from coffee (nice thing being that black coffee is only ~5 calories/cup).

    So, options when you get the munchies: suffer through, nibble on something healthy like nuts, eat a candy bar, drink a soda, or drink coffee. If you’re trying to lose weight, I think the candy bar and soda jump out as the worst options.

  2. Barry says:

    I never eat breakfast – or hardly ever – due to two facts: 1) Inevitably it makes me lose an appetite for lunch, and I live for lunch each day to get out of my office, and 2) It often doesn’t digest well.

    I do, however, often pick up a drink and sometimes a snack on the way to work. I’ll drive through McD’s and get a tea, or stop at a convenience store and get a Coke and some kind of salty snack (chips, crackers, etc). The drinks never fill me up for being hungry, but the snacks occasionally will.

    I eat a moderate lunch, usually out at a sit-down place like O’Charley’s. Dinner varies widely – depending on if we’re home to cook, or are out and have to pick something up. Rarely do we ever eat strict fast food, as in McD’s, BK, Wendy’s.

    But I’ve never observed the presence of, or absence of, soft drinks has affected my actual hunger in any way.

    My weight on the other hand….:)

  3. trumwill says:


    My general sense is you have to consume a lot of coke calories to get full. That is to say that instead of drinking 170 dreadful calories of Mountain Dew you could probably eat a celery stick or two and come out better on the hunger front. It just doesn’t seem true to me that soft drinks, however inefficient they may be, supply no relief from hunger.

    I was looking at the scale this morning and lamenting how my weight loss seems to have flatlined and trying to figure out what the next steps might be. Getting rid of cokes is high on any such list. The quota has gotten me this far, but obviously I’m going to have to crack down on that. I eat sugar free candy bars (though they’re really not big enough to be bars), which provides a nice sweet boost but, unlike regular candy, can’t be eaten to excess.


    I’m a breakfast evangelist now. I eat a small high-fiber breakfast cereal in the morning and I’m rarely too full to eat lunch. I’m not usually hungry by lunch, but eating-while-not-hungry is a good way to limit portions. Getting hungry can be dangerous to dieting, depending on how one response to hunger.

  4. Barry says:

    What kinds of things do you eat for breakfast? I’ve found that high-fiber things, eaten early, are not good for my digestion…

  5. trumwill says:

    FiberONE cereal, mostly. Sometimes I’ll have another brand I can’t remember off the top of my head that has a little less in the way of fiber but more protein and tastes better.

    Fiber can create digestive problems sometimes. For me it’s all positive. It keeps things moving. If you’re having digestive hold-ups, drinking more fluids is supposed to help.

  6. Peter says:

    I remember that when I was about six or seven years old, I was in the supermarket with my mother and asked if she would get me some Mountain Dew. She declined, saying “It looks like tinkle.”

    She was and is right.

  7. trumwill says:

    Mello Yello looks more like tinkle.

    Neither taste like tinkle.

    Don’t ask me how I know that.

  8. Barry says:

    If youโ€™re having digestive hold-ups, drinking more fluids is supposed to help.

    It’s not hold-ups that’s the problem. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know, TMI.

    It looks like tinkle.

    Well, so does lemonade and nobody has a problem with that…

    Speaking of Mountain Dew I bought one of the new “throwback” bottles last night and am drinking it as I type. Well, not really, I’m using two hands to type. But anyway. It’s pretty good – not as biting as regular MD. Actually tastes a little flat in comparison to corn-starch sweetened MD.

  9. rob says:

    Caffeine is an appetite supressant. Unless you replaced the soda with coffee or tea, that might be why.

  10. trumwill says:

    Rob, You might be on to something there, Rob. When I stop drinking coke I don’t drink nearly as much diet coke, so my caffeine intake probably does go down.

    I noticed on the box that it said that people should gradually work up their fiber intake so as to not disrupt their gastrointestinal work. I got a kick out of seeing that on the box.

    I haven’t had any of the Throwbacks or sugar beverages. I may be writing a post on that whole thing soon. I think a lot of people just naturally assume that sugar tastes better than HFCS and will be surprised when they find that it’s not the case. Some people will convince themselves that they like it more and others genuinely will. I enjoy drinks with bonafide sugar… but largely on the basis that it tastes a little bit different and so it’s a change of pace.

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