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A total of 15 of the following type of plants were purchased from a local store:
The name of the plant is POTHOS. This plant was the most ideal for the test. It was a young plant that would grow as shown in the picture below.
After the purchase, plants were visually examined for any signs that may compromise the trial. It was noticed that they were not equally watered at the store because the soil on some of them felt dry on a touch. Other than that, all plants were in excellent condition with proper amount of plant food in the soil. All pots had pierced holes on the bottom to allow drainage of excess fluid.
For one month the plants were properly nourished and watered to ensure that they were healthy and to bring them to a constant watering schedule.
The plants were kept in a controlled room temperature and a moderately lit room per label instructions.
Within the preparation month, a watering schedule was established based on the size of the pots, the amount of water the plants consumed, the amount of water that might have escaped from the pierced holes, and the amount of water that might have evaporated in the air. A soil moisture meter was used to determine the amount and the frequency of watering.
That same constant watering schedule was kept later when the water was switched over to the other beverages regardless if the moisture level dropped to the dangerous levels. The plants were not given any more or any less of the beverages, but the liquid amount was kept the same as the water amount determined in the preparation month. This was done for two reasons.
One: If a beverage, other than water, can be a substitute for water, then the same amount of it would be sufficient to satisfy the water needs.
Two: The answer for thirst is not more of the same or other beverage, but water. If the plants would show signs of dehydration, then it needed to be observed how long they would survive without adding any water.
The Beverage Trial lasted 6 months. It was originally scheduled for 3 months, but some of the plants were able to withstand the extreme conditions better than originally thought, so it was extended for 3 more months. The ability for survival was underestimated. However, it couldn't last forever.
For the duration of the trial, two situations were observed.
Almost immediately, within a couple of weeks after the trial began, with the harsher beverages, it was noticed that the plants became very soft. The leaves almost felt like a toilet paper. It was unknown whether this was a sign of severe dehydration or a direct result from the substances present in the beverages. Nevertheless, the plants showed signs of weakness and struggle.
Soon after that, the stems lost their strength and started bending down to a point that the branches were simply hanging lifelessly down from the pot. Despite the continuous watering with the beverages, the plants would not revive, until they were presumed dead and discarded.
Some of the plants were (it seemed like) sacrificing one branch at a time while trying to save the limited resources for the rest of the other branches. One by one the branches were drying out and turning brown while the rest of the plant was trying to survive.
In summary, it was a very interesting, yet sad observation to see the plants, one by one, suffering from either lack of water and proper hydration or direct result from the substances present in the beverages.
It was clear that the plants were struggling and almost felt like pleading for water. However, the watering schedule was maintained for the entire duration of the trial.
All of the plants sooner or later started losing their strength. The leaves from hard and healthy feel, turned into a toilet-paper like soft feel when touched. This was a clear sign that the plants were losing the battle.
The above observation was the case for all plants excluding the plant watered with water. That plant was flourishing, full of life, and continued to grow, healthy and strong, up to the last day of the trial and beyond.
INDIVIDUAL TRIAL RESULTS
Plant 1 was assigned Regular Water. In other words, nothing changed from the preparation month. That plant continued to receive water. At the end of the sixth month, the plant was branching out, healthy, and growing toward its full potential.
2. Fitness Water
Plant 2 was assigned the so-called Fitness Water. In the survey, the participants in questions 20 and 21, were asked how much Flavored or Fitness Water they drink. The goal of this question was to find out how many people drink the clear water-looking flavored liquid sold under many different names. Hence, a so-called Fitness Water was purchased for the Beverage Trial.
This plant didn't show any immediate signs of struggle. Instead, it continued to look normal for the first 3 months. Toward the end of the third month and the beginning of the fourth month, the leaves started to change their texture and started to feel very soft. The process was very slow and it seemed like the plant was able to extract the water content from the beverage and use it for survival. However, it didn't last long until the leaves and the branches, one by one, started dying out and turning brown. At the end of the fifth month, the plant was half dead, the dark green color was now pale green to yellow color, and there were no signs of growth.
3. Regular Coffee
Plant 3 was assigned Regular Coffee. A fresh coffee was brewed each time the plant was watered. The coffee was left to cool down to a room temperature and then mixed for the accumulated coffee sludge from the bottom of the coffee pot to mix with the liquid before it was given to the plant to simulate the regular human consumption.
Since the coffee was found to be the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, according to a study done by researchers at the University of Scranton (Pa.), it might have helped for this plant to survive the longest. At the end of the sixth month, the plant didn't show any signs of growth and development, but it did show small signs of what it seemed like dehydration. The plant was slowly losing its strength and its dark green color.
4. Decaf Coffee
Plant 4 was assigned Decaf Coffee. Same watering practice was followed as the plant with Regular Coffee. This plant too, along with its brother plant, above, survived the longest perhaps for the same reason mentioned above. At the end of the sixth month, this plant also didn't show any signs of growth and development, but it did show slightly bigger signs of what it seemed like dehydration. The branches were losing their strength and started to bend down.
Plant 5 was assigned Tea. Even though it was not specified in the survey which type of tea participants were consuming, for the beverage trial, a ready-to-drink tea was purchased instead of brewing an herbal tea. The purchased tea had artificial ingredients listed on its label. At the end of the forth month, it was decided that there was no need to continue with this plant because the plant was pretty much dead with no chances of growth and development with further watering with the tea. The plant was discarded at this point.
Plant 6 was assigned Juice. As mentioned at the beginning of this report, to keep the survey length as short as possible, in questions 10 and 11 participants were asked how much Juice or Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks they drink. The intention of this question was to find out how many people drink colored beverages that don't fall under any of the other categories.
For the trial, an orangey looking beverage was purchased that had a long list of ingredients on its label (including artificial ingredients) from which almost a third couldn't be easily pronounced. The beverage was popular and it was purchased quite often by consumers. At the end of the fifth month, it was determined that this plant was pretty much dead with no chances of growth and development with further watering with the beverage. The plant was discarded at this point.
7. Regular Soda-Pop 1
Plant 7 was assigned Regular Soda-Pop 1. Since this beverage is called Soda in one part of America, Pop in another part of the country, and a totally different name in a third part of the country, for this trial it was decided to be called Soda-Pop so people would know which beverage was used.
After doing short research, it was determined that there were two brands of this beverage that shared high popularity. So, for this trial both brands were purchased and synonyms 1 and 2 were used to differentiate between the two.
At the end of the second month, this plant was presumed dead with no chances of growth and development with further watering with the beverage. The plant was discarded at this point.
8. Regular Soda-Pop 2
Plant 8 was assigned the Regular Soda-Pop 2. It was no different than Soda-Pop 1. At the end of the second month, this plant was presumed dead with no chances of growth and development with further watering with the beverage. The plant was discarded at this point.
9. Diet Soda-Pop
Plant 9 was assigned Diet Soda-Pop. Since diet version is available for this beverage and is very popular, it was decided also to be used for this study. This plant showed surprising results. It actually lasted longer than the regular version of the beverage. At the end of the fifth month the plant was concluded to have no chances of growth and development with further watering with the beverage. The plant was discarded at this point.
10. Non-Carbonated Energy Drink
Plant 10 was assigned Non-Carbonated Energy Drink. Since this beverage has gained a very good popularity, it is available in many varieties. For this plant it was chosen a non-carbonated version while a carbonated version was assigned to Plant 11.
This plant, along with Plant 11 offered interesting surprise. In the first two months, it almost looked like the plants were growing and benefiting from the beverages. However, in the third month the growth stopped, and in the forth month the signs of toilet-paper soft leaves started to show. At the end of the fifth month, the branches of both plants started bending down; they started losing their dark green color; and Plant 11 started losing branches. Even though the plants were not showing any signs of growth and development with further watering with the beverage, the plants were left until the end of the sixth month, after which they were discarded.
11. Carbonated Energy Drink
Plant 11 was assigned Carbonated Energy Drink. See description for Plant 10.
Plant 12 was assigned Milk. If you are wondering why there's no "After" image for this plant, it is because this beverage provided an unexpected surprise. This plant never finished the trial and it was discarded after two months.
At the beginning of the second month, a white looking residue started to collect in the soil. This residue started to smell very bad and it was getting worse each day more milk was added. At the end of the second month the stench was so bad that the plant had to be discarded. It is unknown whether this disgusting odor developed because this beverage is the only one that comes from an animal, or the hormones that may be present in it, or because of the way the milk is readied before it comes on the store shelves. The milk was regularly supplied fresh without ever going pass the expiration date listed on the label.
Plant 13 was assigned Beer. Compared to the other two alcoholic drinks, Beer offered surprising results. The plant was able to survive longer. The weakening process was very slow, perhaps because of the lower alcohol level. However, at the end of the fifth month, the plant showed no signs of growth and development with further watering with the beverage. The plant was discarded at this point.
Plant 14 was assigned Wine. After 51 days, it was concluded that this plant was dead with no chances of growth and development with further watering with the beverage. The plant was discarded at this point.
Plant 15 was assigned Liquor. This beverage was so strong, the parts of the stem closer to the soil dried out first and died, after which the plant collapsed and died too. Same as Plant 14, after 51 days, it was concluded that this plant was dead with no chances of growth and development with further watering with the beverage. The plant was discarded at that point.
The beverages, other than water, even though proclaimed to be mostly water, did not sustain life nor did they aid in the normal growth and development, but did the opposite. However, the plant watered with plain water flourished, and it continues to grow to its full potential.
Though this Trial was extreme and the human body is more complex system than the plant system, it paints the picture that no other beverage could be a substitute for water. It is important to note that it is unknown whether the plants struggled, failed to grow, and died because of dehydration, direct effect from the substances found in the other beverages, or a combination of both. However, it is clear that the other beverages do have an effect on the wellbeing of living organisms to which people belong.
A further, more precise trial would provide a better answer when water is introduced to the picture to more closely mimic human consumption and observe the effects on growth, development, aging, and death from each beverage combined with a multiple combinations of water amounts. Such trial could determine a safe amount of consumption of other beverages in addition to water consumption without affecting the hydration level. A true trial would involve human beings, but such trial would be impossible since struggle and death are inevitable when water not present or present in limited amounts.
Why did all plants (other than Plant 1 that was given regular water) struggle, become weak, fail to grow and develop, and eventually die without a presence of water? Why is the water so important for regular growth and development, and health in general?