Nonverbal Cues

It's the Real Thing. --Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (1969)

Consumer product. A usually colorful--but sometimes clear--frozen or liquid food product (e.g., a cherry popsicle, orange soda, or strawberry milkshake) sweetened with sugar to resemble the taste of natural fruit juice.

Usage: Historically, squeezed fruit juice has been one of humankind's favorite refreshments. Iced-fruit juices and French sorbets, e.g., date back some 300 years. In the late 1990s, Tropicana orange juice was among the top-ten most popular grocery-store items sold in the U.S. (N.B.: Orange juice contains glucose, fructose, and sucrose; flavor compounds known as terpenes; and the minerals potassium and phosphorus.)

Evolution. The sweetness of a juice substitute is usually increased by adding table sugar (sucrose), a crystalline carbohydrate which suggests the fruity sweetness of fructose, for which it stands (i.e., as a nonverbal sign). Today, an incredible vocabulary of sucrose signals reconnects our species to its fruit-eating, primate past (see FRUIT SUBSTITUTE).

Soda signs. In the modern diet, fresh-fruit drinks have been largely replaced by sweeter beverages which suggest their presence and stand in their stead. In the U.S., e.g., soft drinks outsell fruit juices three-to-one. Carbonated sodas contain high levels of sucrose, as well as of artificial colorings and flavorings. Today, the most recognized brand name on earth belongs to a dark, bubbly juice substitute known as Coca-Cola.

Cola cues. Coke is a complex harmony of cola seeds, vanilla, and spices; and oils of orange, lemon, and lime--blended with evolutionary-unprecedented quantities of caffeine and sucrose. In the 1990s, Coke Classic and Pepsi were, respectively, the 2nd and 3rd most popular grocery-store items in annual sales (behind Marlboro cigarettes).

Neuro-notes. An MRI study by Yale University endocrinologist Robert Sherwin and colleagues, published in the January 2, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that glucose, sucrose, and fructose register differently in the human brain. The latter sugar seems not to register the "full" feeling that its cousin sugars do. Thus, juice substitutes such as high-energy and sports drinks, which feature fructose for sweetness, may play more of a role in obesity.


Copyright 1998 - 2016 (David B. Givens/Center for Nonverbal Studies)
Drawing of "Showing My Nonverbal Side" by my son Aaron Huffman (copyright 2012 by Aaron M. Huffman)