Mtn Dew--what's [i]in[/i] this stuff? (long)

Why give up drinking Mountain Dew?
Some years ago, a guy I knew bet me I couldn’t go a week without drinking Mountain Dew. I was, he said, an addict.
I scoffed. I’ve traveled some, and Mountain Dew is not available everywhere in the world, or even in the country. In France, Italy, Germany, and San Francisco, when I couldn’t find it, I’d made do (no pun intended) with other more adult beverages. Bitter lemon, white wine, dark beer, cola, or the German concoction called a “Spatzli” or something like that, containing something like cola and something like Sprite. I’d survived.

But, with a pop machine right across the street from my house, my friend was right. Not only couldn’t I go one week without drinking Dew, I couldn’t go one day. Not only that, but when I put my money in only to see the “sold out” light, I would have a fit, and attack the machine to try to get my money back, because Dew was the ONLY thing I wanted. Worst yet was when the guy across the street ran out of Dew and put something else in its place, without notification. Press button, get—argh, Fresca! I’m not even going into what happened the second time.

Well, that was years ago. But then I started noticing that Dew seemed, perhaps, a little more addictive than other soft drinks. For instance I’d be out of town at a convention and I’d go out of my way to locate a source of my beverage of choice, and other addicts would seek me out. “Where’d you find it?” they’d ask. “Oh, in the gift shop of the hotel across the street, but it cost $3 for 20 ounces!”

“Bummer,” they’d say, and head off across the street. And maybe later in the course of the convention one of them would come up and say, “Hey, I found it cheaper–there’s a Walgreens just two blocks away!”

Okay. We’re grownups, for crysake, talking about a legal substance, uncontrolled in any way. A soft drink. Something you can drink, unashamed, at your office, in your car, or, in the comfort of your own home, for breakfast. All right. The breakfast of champions it’s not. Still, not a disgrace.

Last summer I had some enforced Dew withdrawal. The first time I was at a convention where the hotel did not have it in the handy pop machine, and the hotel wasn’t close to anything like a Walgreen’s, and I didn’t have a car. So what, so I’d drink Coke. Maybe a couple of gin and tonics. Bottled water. Which I did.
And I woke up with something like a hangover. In fact I could definitely call it a hangover. Pounding, buzzing headache, nausea, light sensitivity. I drank two cups of coffee, a glass of orange juice, and some water–and realized nothing but Dew would do. I dragged myself out of the hotel, walked several blocks, crossing some really busy streets in the process, found a gas station, bought two one-liter bottles of the elixir I craved, and drank one on the way back. And all my symptoms disappeared! I was healed!

So after the morning program, instead of going to lunch with colleagues, I headed back to the filling station, only this time I stocked up. No further problems.

Okay, so maybe it was a hangover from the G&Ts.
Then I was traveling with my family by auto, then hiking and camping. We brought plenty of water, and had coffee, but no other adult beverages. No Dew.

Again, the first morning, I experienced hangover-like symptoms. I stayed in the tent, moaning, drank a couple of cups of coffee, took several Advil, and then got in motion. Despite the water, despite the coffee, a low-level headache plagued me for the duration of the hike. As soon as we got back to civilization I bought a 12-oz. can of Mountain Dew and felt fine.

“It’s the caffeine,” my spouse suggested. “It’s just caffeine withdrawal.”

Okay. But . . . I’d had caffeine. I know there’s a lot of caffeine in Mountain Dew–for a soft drink. I don’t think it contains more caffeine than two cups of coffee. Maybe we made a mistake and got decaf? No.

Maybe it’s the sugar.

A couple of months, another business trip, another hotel that lacked the foresight to stock Mountain Dew in its pop machines–even though it did have Pepsi. Okay. Pepsi also has caffeine. And sugar. And EDTA. I would drink Pepsi. It wouldn’t taste as good to me, but I could live with that.

This time, no G&T to blame a hangover on, but I woke up with one anyway. Really bad. Headache, nausea. I forced down some coffee, gulped down some orange juice, ate some Advil, even drank another Pepsi, which seemed wrong so early in the morning (although Mtn. Dew did not). My symptoms did not abate. And I decided Mountain Dew must have some secret ingredient I was addicted to, and I needed to get off the stuff. But first, of course, I needed to find a source, in order to get through the weekend. I’d go off Mountain Dew when I got back home.

Back home, in typical addict fashion, I put it off. I don’t drink that much (“Where’s my Dew? I thought–I could have sworn–I had another two-liter. No? Are you sure it didn’t fall over and roll behind the cabinet? I can’t be drinking it that fast.”) It’s not like it’s anything evil. Okay, so it’s an extra, um, 800 calories a day–yikes! 800 calories? Yes, if I had 4 cans a day, or one two-liter bottle a day. 800 calories. 800 empty calories. Okay. So I do drink that much.

Still, it’s not like I have a $400-a-week cocaine habit or anything. The calories? Well, it’s not like I have a weight problem. The sugar? Well, it’s not like I have a sugar problem. The EDTA? Feh!

I told myself I would feel okay if I had, say, one or two cans a week. And then I realized I couldn’t do that. No; if I limited myself to one can I spent the entire day longing for it, and then I would have it, and it would be good, and then I just couldn’t wait until I got another one.

I went over the reasons for giving it up. Drinking too much of any kind of pop is bad, even if you don’t go through withdrawal if you stop. It’s bad for my teeth. There’s too much sugar. The caffeine (or maybe it was the sugar) might sap calcium out of my bones and I don’t want to get osteoporosis. The basic reason–there’s something in here that makes me go into withdrawal when I don’t get it and I don’t know what that is, but it can’t be any good.

Maybe the brominated vegetable oil?

Mountain Dew withdrawal, day one
I wake with that hungover feeling. Headache, slight nausea, groggy feeling, dizziness. Pop two Advil, drink a cup of coffee, which tastes horrible, very slowly. Later, eat half a grapefruit. Have a glass of orange juice. Still feeling fuzzy. Headache of epic proportions, can’t think, feel like I weigh one pound for every calorie of Mountain Dew I’m not guzzling (that’s 880 pounds–I round it up, make it a thousand). Never mind that at this point in my usual day I’ve only had one glass of Mountain Dew. I also feel dehydrated, so I hit the water, but slowly, because if I drink it fast I’m afraid I’ll throw up.

Around two, I eat a piece of angel food cake. I have a cup of Earl Grey tea. It makes me feel better, somewhat.

In addition to dizziness and a headache that hasn’t gone completely away no matter how much Advil, and weighing 1000 pounds, I now have muscles aches.

I go for a short walk, during which I stumble a lot, owing to the dizziness. Spouse looks up “mountain dew withdrawal” on the internet and gets lots of hits. “It’s the caffeine. Headache, possible nausea. One to three days.”

Oh, man–one to three days?

“This site says one to five days.”

Five days? I’m ready to beg. One little can of Mountain Dew. Please. Just one.

“You look better already,” spouse says. “Better color.”

Ugh. I feel like shit–how could I possible look better?

“Younger.” Oh. Magic word. I’ll persevere.

Even though I can’t concentrate. I have a lot of work to do.
Instead I do laundry.

Mountain Dew withdrawal, day two:
There shouldn’t be a day two! It should be over in one day! Dammit!

I wake with a headache of epic proportions and a propensity to nausea so bad that I go immediately back to bed. Advil. Sip water. I feel like I have a fever. This can’t be confirmed, since I’m sipping away at a cup of tea, between bouts of weird and feverish dreams.

This is stupid. I could have ONE CAN of Mountain Dew and I’d be okay, myself again.

This is REALLY stupid. It’s not like I was addicted to heroin, or alcohol. No, man, I was addicted to sody-pop. Not even an adult beverage. No–a fucking soft drink. Available everywhere with no ID. Something you could give to a child.

I blow off a lunch date with a friend because I can’t eat; I can’t even get out of bed. Late in the afternoon I eat a couple of crackers, drink some more tea, get up long enough to beat my spouse at ping-pong even despite all my disabilities . . . hmmm. I manage to eat a hamburger for dinner. I’ve been through an entire bottle of Advil and the headache has never quite gone away, although it’s much better. After dinner I mope around, read a book, and mop the kitchen floor. Thinking the worst is over.

Mountain Dew withdrawal, day three:
Boy was I wrong. This is the worst. I get out of bed at 6 a.m. for the sole purpose of getting painkillers into my system. Worst headache ever. I think I’m having an aneurysm, or something. Advil, Advil! I think I’m not drinking enough water, so I have some water. One hour later I get up again for the sole purpose of puking my guts out. This cycle continues for the entire day, compounded by a killer headache. Drink, sleep, puke, medicate. Drink, sleep, puke–sometimes I leave out the “medicate” stage. I don’t want to have to withdraw from ibuprofen addiction after I get over Mountain Dew addiction.

I feel so shitty I can’t even write–and I can always write. I stagger to the computer to search the internet to find out if anyone’s ever died from caffeine withdrawal. It seems like a possibility. Feel just awful. I have some caffeine, once again in the form of tea. It doesn’t stay with me long.

Internet site I find says caffeine withdrawal takes one to five days, there it is again, five days, holy shit—and up to three months to get back your old energy level. Energy level? I have no energy. I have zero energy. Maybe negative energy. I feel like my limbs are inflated with liquid although, surprisingly, today my weight feels like it’s down to about 300 pounds, a 700-lb. improvement.

What an idiot! I have given myself the flu, and I could get over it immediately with an infusion of Mountain Dew! I still don’t.

What’s in that stuff?

Okay. Brominated vegetable oil, which keeps the ingredients from separating. Okay, this stuff’s no good. This stuff’s poison. Trying to mitigate my symptoms I’ve had caffeine, I’ve had sugar, I’ve had citrus–lots of citrus–orange juice and grapefruit and lemonade (a theme emerges). And nothing has worked!

Bed rest is bad for you, I’ve always thought. Maybe it’s the bed rest that’s causing all these symptoms! I stagger from the bedroom to the living room, bumping every wall along the way, and collapse on the couch, where I sit like a pile of toxic waste until my kid gets home from school. Then I go back to bed. In some sort of humiliation because I’m just fucking good for nothing, and feel awful.

The day’s a total waste. I manage to send a couple of extremely essential emails and have a couple of phone conversations whose content I cannot recollect even moments later.

Mountain Dew withdrawal, day four:
No longer puking, I am nonetheless afraid to eat anything. I will drink anything. A cup of coffee. A litre of bottled water. A glass of lemonade. Another glass of lemonade. This is going to dissolve the enamel of my teeth if I keep it up, since I’m so concerned about my teeth–which ache, along with the rest of me. I keep telling myself I’m over the worst of it, yeah, said that before, was wrong. But on this day I seem to be right.

Maybe I really did have the flu. Yeah, that’s it–I gave up Mountain Dew and, just coincidentally, developed that one-day flu that’s going around. A possibility.

I still feel heavy, particularly in the legs. I dig the scales out from under a pound of newspaper. Ha, now I’m losing my mind. For a few minutes, before I stepped on the scales, I actually believed I really did weigh 300 pounds.

Mountain Dew withdrawal, day five:
An all-day meeting, which I could skip but I’ve already lost–what, four days? I drag myself in. (The people who think I had the flu–because that’s what I said, being embarrassed to admit I brought the whole thing on myself by stupidly giving up my favorite sody pop–edge away from me, so I assume I don’t look all that good.) Drink a glass of orange juice. Fortify myself with two more Advil and a cup of coffee (which is very strong). Between 10:30 and noon I manage to eat 3/4 of a sesame bagel. Take notes–kind of shaky notes, but I think I can probably read them later. At lunch, skip the turkey sandwich and the sack of potato chips and eat a banana and two enormous ripe strawberries. Another glass of water. For the afternoon session, one more cup of coffee, then more water. At 4:30 I’m beat but I made it through the day, without falling over, puking, or taking more than two Advil. I go home and . . .
Here’s where, normally, after a day in which I was denied Dew, I would pour myself some and savor it. I am now dealing with the psychology of the addiction. I replace it by eating a piece of lemon meringue pie. (Hmmm. More citrus. And more sugar. But not a lot of sugar, because I cut it way down in anything I bake, including the angel food cake. But citrus? Could that be it? Naw, 'cause I’ve been drinking OJ right along. That isn’t it. Anyway, I’m over it.)

Mountain Dew withdrawal, day six:
What! Day six? This is ridiculous. I’m over it. Yeah, and I was over it the first day, and then after that I really did get some kind of actual bug.

Yeah. Right.

It’s funny, I thought I was gonna confess to people what was really going on–that I didn’t have the flu, that I was sick from withdrawing from Mountain Dew. Yes, the soft drink. The soft drink. But I don’t. I’m too ashamed.

Why be ashamed? Well, I missed a couple of days of work–which is okay, really, because I’m never, ever sick, I am the person whose immune system manages to fight off positively everything. So people could forgive me for being sick for a couple of days, once or twice a decade, right? I have it coming. I was, really, sick.

I could say I stole some socks . . .

I have to face this shame. I wasn’t ashamed of drinking the stuff so why am I ashamed of having given it up?

Because it just seems so petty. So opposite of noble. It’s not like I just kicked heroin, or nicotine, and it’s not like I have to go around apologizing to people for any unintentional damage I may have caused them while being under the influence of Mountain Dew. But I don’t confess. I say I feel better.

In the afternoon I have a meeting. It’s a regularly scheduled meeting, the same five (or sometimes six) people every two weeks. We grab some snacks from the machine. I spend about five minutes looking at the machine. For 60 cents I could get a can of . . .

Don’t even think about it. After what you just went through?

Well maybe it’s like, say, an old lover. Who, after awhile, you become friends with. (Right. Like that ever happened.)

Who, after a long time, you could just be friends. But not very good friends.

But it hasn’t been long enough. We’re talking years, here.

I always get a can of Dew for this meeting. The meeting lasts from 2 1/2 to 4 hours, and if it’s a long meeting I have two. Typically.

I put the coins in. Maybe the machine is out!

It’s not. The can of Dew arrives in my hand, frosty and beaded.

I sit it on the table. I stare at it for a few minutes with something like horror, while the meeting goes on.

Nobody has even noticed that I’m not drinking it, what the hell do they care what I drink? The others have their usual drinks. Pepsi. Diet Pepsi. A bottle of iced tea. A cup of herbal tea. They don’t care what I drink.

But I’m weak, I’ve never claimed otherwise. I pop the top. I take a sip.

It tastes like nothing. I finish it and switch to water.

I to must sadly admit that I was addicted to Mountain Dew. I didn’t go through withdraws as bad as you but I did have some slight problems. I don’t know what it is in there though, though once I stopped drinking it, it now tastes horrible. I’m glad to hear that you cut the addiction though, GOOD JOB!

There’s got to be something in it. When Mountain Dew Code Red was introduced, I didn’t even like the flavor yet still had this unexplained urge to drink it.

I gave up caffeine for New Year’s. I was addicted to one can per day before then - if I didn’t get it, I’d get headaches.

At least you don’t have to worry about it shrinking your 'nads.

Actually I never had to worry about that, because I never heard that rumor before and anyway I’m the wrong sex. But obviously there is something bad in there or rumors like this wouldn’t get started.

And what color would the stuff be without the yellow #5? Frankly I never thought the color was all that wonderful.

Speaking of the color, here’s a little tidbit that might help the folks at the SDMB shake their addiction to MD.

At work tonight, we thought someone had urinated in the Juniors’ fitting room. It turned out to be spilled MD. How foul can a substance be that it’s mistaken for human waste?

Yep. That’s the color, all right.

Did someone actually find out the puddle wasn’t piss by tasting the liquid?

  • Bubba.

I tried to quit once and couldn’t do it. I suffer migraines, and suprisingly Caffine isn’t one of my triggers. More allergy, hormone, light related.
Anyway, stopping the Dew triggered serious migraines.
And I just couldn’t wait for Livewire to come out. See, when I was expecting my first child I used to take my big gulp glass and fill it with Dew and then put two splashes of orange soda in.
At first I liked Code Red, but not so much anymore.
Either Livewire or Dew for me.

Cicada, I am in awe of you. You are a true Dew survivor! Maybe one day I too can share a survival story of the Dew.
I have tried the cut back method but just fall back into the same rut sooner or later.

Anything that hard to kick has to be bad for you. Keep trying!
I have to say, I’m no longer addicted but I still have this habit. My goal is not to replace it with something like $3.75 lattes, but I think even those would be preferable (except for the cost).

Wow, I am really impressed you gave it up. I am addicted to Diet Pepsi. Mt. Dew and Diet Pepsi are both PepsiCo products…hmmm…

I don’t drink coffee at home, so when I run out of Diet Pepsi I get those killer headaches until I go out and get more - needless to say, I don’t like headaches so I try not to run out of Diet pepsi.

When I was in Ireland, Diet Pepsi was next to impossible to find (until I found out that Pepsi Maxx = Diet Pepsi) so I tried Diet Coke. Not the same. Not even close. I felt unfulfilled, but I managed to struggle through. And in one town (Roscommon) I didn’t find any diet soda at the two convenience stores I went to - gahhhh. I know lots of people think diet sodas taste like caca, but once I started drinking diet, sugared sodas taste like caca to me. So I suffered with a regular Pepsi, but it wasn’t the same.

I don’t know what it is, but I know I’m addicted. I just don’t have the guts to quit right now. Good for you!

When I was younger I used to drink Mountain Dew like it was water. I stopped drinking it for a while sand know I can’t touch the stuff. It makes me feel physically ill.

When I was in college, every-frickin’-body had a bottle of Mountain Dew (or as I like to call it “Carbonated Pee Juice”) in their bookbags. I often wondered why everyone drank that vile liquid. Now I know. (I tried it once. The results were spectacular, worthy of a lieu post. Back to caffiene-free Pepsi for me!)

Congratulations on kicking the habit, Cicada! I quit caffiene entirely last year (coffee, soft drinks, ice tea gets in under a grandfather clause). Fortunately, I didn’t have terrible withdrawal effects. I was just a bit tired for a few days. You, though…you get a Purple Heart and a prize of your choosing. I salute you.

I gave up caffiene as well a few months ago. I was drinking upwards of 7 cans a day. I had very severe withdrawal symptoms as well, massive pounding headache for several days, nausea and dizziness. Not fun. I now drink only caf-free diet pepsi (the coke version is horrid) and I sleep better at night.

My favorite thing about Dew is that it’s one of the few soft drinks that has actual fruit juice (orange) and not just ‘natural flavors’ (various citrus oils). Not very much, but still … Whenever I see a cereal commercial that ends with the ‘part of this complete breakfast’ blurb, I always mentally sub out the little glass of juice for six two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew. Now that’s a complete breakfast! :smiley:

I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned Diet MD. I used to drink 32 ounces or more of MD daily, but switched to Diet. It’s not even close to the same taste as MD, but you can aquire a taste for it. There are some things that I have noticed in my 30 plus years of MD guzzling. First, I found that if I drink too much MD, especially after eating something sweet, the MD tastes like water. That’s when I knew I’d had enough…when I couldn’t even taste the sugar. Second, after switching to Diet, the occaisional regular MD tastes oh so good. I drink maybe one a week and it tastes like the nectar of the gods. I was in the Navy in the 80’s and made a couple of six month deployments on an Aircraft Carrier. The Navy had a contract with Coca-Cola. It’s impossible to find overseas. The MD I had for the first time in six months tasted very good indeed.

My username here used to be Dewaholic. I know what you’re going through. It’s been several years since I’ve gone more than one day without it. I’ll start getting a headache around noon and realize “I haven’t had any Dew today.” After I drink about half a can, I feel better.

What makes it worse is that I absolutely LOVE the new Livewire version! Those evil assclowns at Pepsi are trying to keep everyone on it.

I just quit smoking and I’m using the lozenges. I really wish there were Mt. Dew lozenges so I can quit.

No, the AP (Asset Protection) guy said that it didn’t have urine’s distinctive smell. He also mentioned that urine didn’t make a perfect puddle on a bench. I asked him how he knew that, and he asked me if I’ve ever gone outside. I said, “Not on a bench!” That conversation made me wonder what our AP guy does for fun in his spare time.