KILLER COLAS:The Hard Truth About Soft Drinks, by Nancy Appleton, PhD, and G.N. Jacobs. Square One Publishers, 132 pp., $15.95.

If you read this slim, startling volume by nutritionist Appleton, author of "Suicide by Sugar" and similar titles, you'll most assuredly put down that Coke -- not to mention that Red Bull, Gatorade or even diet soda.

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Just her explanations of additives -- from high fructose corn syrup to caramel coloring -- may be enough to give you pause.

THE SCOOP Did you know even a sweetened iced tea can have 10 teaspoons of added sugar? That bubbly carbon dioxide depletes calcium from your bones, while added acids cause tummy distress and tooth decay? Alas, the latest research shows even diet soda makes you fat. (And it's sickening how sweet "vitamin" water can be.)

THE BOTTOM LINE Check out "31 Ways Soft Drinks and Other Sweetened Beverages Can Ruin Your Health," and you may find water newly refreshing. Want flavor? Add lemon or lime.