Need Another Reason to Ditch the Soda?
I have never been a soda drinker, mostly because I refuse to put any “added” sugar into my body. One of my biggest concerns working with my clients is when they are addicted to the diet soda, but reading up on this health risk involving coloring agents I am glad that my advice is always firm to avoid ALL kinds of soda…
Last month, the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, Consumer Reports, published a report about the potential health risks posed by a coloring agent used in many popular carbonated beverages. The caramel coloring agent called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) is used in many types of cola, root beers and other dark-colored drinks to provide rich brown color. Caramel sounds wholesome, but this chemical has nothing to do with the substance we call caramel. Its synthetic agent often synthesized using ammonia. Yuck.
And according to research conducted by the National Toxicology Program, and reported by Consumer Reports, the agent has been linked to an increased risk of cancer in lab rodents. Critics will doubtless point out that only the highest doses were linked to the development of cancer. And the type of cancer differed, depending on whether test animals were mice or rats. But the fact remains that a chemical widely used to provide artificial coloring to beverages consumed daily by millions of people may be carcinogenic under certain circumstances.
That’s not the only reason to ditch the soft drinks. They’re either packed with sugar, or laced with artificial sweeteners. And both of those have been linked to weight gain and alterations in appetite, among other negative consequences. But who really needs a handful of reasons to stop engaging in a potentially harmful behavior? Plain water is safe, nourishing, and may even help you lose weight. What are you waiting for? Ditch the soda if you haven’t already, and reach for clean, fresh water to keep you hydrated and help flush toxins from your body. It’s all you really need.
For those of you who insist on continuing to drink artificially flavored and colored soft drinks and dark beers, look for “caramel coloring” on the ingredient list. Some of the worst offenders according to Consumer Reports’ survey were products sold by PepsiCo and Goya. Use of these agents is not regulated by the federal government, but California has imposed limitations on the amounts it considers acceptable. Products made by the above companies exceeded standards set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Society of Toxicology. (2014, January 29). Concerned about the health risk of soda?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2014 from