I’ve never been what you would call super healthy. I’ve, so far, managed to avoid the big things, but with day-to-day living, I’ve never felt that great.

There are probably varied reasons for this, the main one being off and on anxiety, but there are also the standard aches and pains, a bad diet, not enough exercise and so on. But now there are two things that could probably laid at the feet of a lot of people.

The first is the drinking of Coke. This applies to all of them, but we’re in the South and they’re all “Coke” unless we specifically want something else, or one is cheaper than the other.

The idea that soft drinks can make you feel bad and maybe lead to an early grave isn’t a new idea. A million years ago when I was a teenager, an old man saw me drinking one and told me it would rot my insides out.

He may not have been wrong.

A study done in Britain followed 80,647 women and 37,716 men who drank both regular and diet sodas and basically, occasionally asked them how they were doing.

The study showed that drinking sugary drinks on a daily basis, any sugary drink, increased the possibility of an early death by 21 percent. It increased your risk of heart problems by 10 percent and even increased your risk of cancer.

And, of course, all that sugar helped increase the risk of diabetes, and if you got any of these wonderful problems, your wallet would be devastated by the associated medical costs.

And the diet ones aren’t much better. You might not get some of the problems associated with the intake of too much sugar, but there appears to be cancer and heart risks and the thought that nobody can really explain what Splenda is.

The British Soft Drink Association didn’t take this sitting down and immediately declared that time and again diet drinks had been proven to be safe. They also said the sugar-filled ones are safe in moderation.

Well, yeah. The only thing not safe in moderation is smoking and some people you just can’t reach.

But it may be a moot point. Another story I came across said that we have made the world so clean that our bodies aren’t prepared to handle any kind of germs.

The story was in the New York Times and referenced something called “An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System.” In it, a doctor said to eat stuff you drop on the floor, to pick your nose and not worry about it, to let your kids play in the dirt and even eat if they want to.

You’re urged to do this because your body has to know what dangers lurk around it and what it needs to do to fight those dangers off. If you somehow make it to 35 without doing any of this stuff, the common cold may put you down for the count.

This doctor also said to vaccinate your kids and let them do the nasty, gross things kids do. They won’t get sick and their bodies will build up a resistance to things that would otherwise make them sick.

That might be one of the reasons I’ve avoided the big things. I can remember playing in the dirt a lot while I was a kid, though I don’t remember eating it. And I’ll eat stuff off the floor, though it depends on the floor.

My own floor, I have no problem eating something dropped on it. I figure if there’s something on my own floor that’s going to kill me, it won’t need food’s help. Now, in a restaurant or somewhere I don’t know, it’s not happening. Somebody with the plague on their shoe might have just ate in there.

But I probably really shouldn’t bother as I drink a lot of diet drinks. Much more than the recommended “no more than two a day.” If I gave up the diet drinks I might live forever. Or, barring accidents, I might die at 82 instead of 78.

I’m not sure four more years tacked on at the end is worth giving up the diet drinks. I’ll think it over while I pick up that french fry off the floor.

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