Mormons should reconsider health priorities

Published October 12, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When I read Peggy Stack's story that caffeinated, sugar-free Coke Zero was briefly but briskly sold at Brigham Young University, I laughed at the ironies of a "health code" that bans caffeine but allows sugar sodas. ("Mormon-owned BYU sells caffeinated colas in soda slip-up," Tribune, Oct. 9).

She explained the Mormon abhorrence of caffeine drinks: "The caffeine question for Mormons stems from the Utah-based faith's health code, known as the Word of Wisdom, which bars coffee and tea. For years, some have suggested that the ban included caffeinated colas."

The health effects of caffeine, a mild stimulant, have been widely studied. For most people, the consumption of caffeine in moderation is entirely safe, and it may help reduce risk of developing Parkinson's disease, Type 2 diabetes, hepatic diseases and cardiovascular disease. Sugar on the other hand, is being consumed to excess by Americans, with dreadful consequences, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Mormons need to get their health priorities right. If Brigham Young University was truly concerned about health, instead of enforcing a quirky interpretation of an outdated 19th century health code, they'd ban sugary sodas and allow caffeinated Coke Zero, tea and coffee.

Tim Vincent