Does the Caramel Coloring in Soda Cause Cancer?

Posted on August 31st, 2011 by author  |  No Comments »

Soda is bad for you, but the chemicals that turn it brown may bring more dangers. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) warns that the caramel coloring in soda is carcinogenic.

CSPI, a Washington-based consumer watchdog organization, has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the “caramel coloring” used in different soda brands on the grounds that the chemicals are cancer-causing. (Link)

Have you ever wondered how this artificial brown coloring is made? Its manufacturers react corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressures and at high temperatures. This produces the chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, both found to cause lung, liver, and thyroid cancer in lab rats and mice.

Time Magazine reports:

“According to California’s regulators, a level of more than 16 micrograms per day would pose a significant risk — meaning it could result in at least one excess case of cancer per 100,000 exposed people.

Given that there are roughly 130 micrograms of 4-MI per 12-ounce can of soda — and given that the average American drinks 14 ounces of soda a day, with young men drinking far more — that would mean that most of us would be at some risk.” (Link)

The FDA responded negatively to the petition, saying that it “is nothing more than another attempt to scare consumers by an advocacy group long-dedicated to attacking the food and beverage industry.” The agency insists that 4-MI is neither cancer-causing nor a threat to human health, and that no health regulatory health agency has proclaimed 4-MI a human carcinogen.

Dr. Joseph Mercola says that as much as monosodium glutamate (MSG) hides behind the names “gelatin,” “yeast extract,” and “brown rice syrup,” the term “caramel coloring” conceals dangerous byproducts and ingredients in your Coke, Pepsi, and other favorite soda brands.

“The term most likely conjures fond memories of delectable caramel apple treats at Halloween, rather than cancer-causing chemicals. And this is exactly the image the industry wants you to have, and why they put ‘caramel’ in the name,” says Dr. Mercola.

Even the “natural” food industry attempts to pass off caramel coloring as natural. Whole Foods Market, for instance, sells 365 Everyday Value Root Beer “all natural soda,” which contains caramel coloring. (See product)

No matter what the FDA and soda brands say, ALL caramel colorings are highly heat-processed, sometimes pressure-treated, and often reacted with strong acids, bases, ammonia, and/or sulfites.

Caramel coloring, though, is found not only in soda, but also in a wide array of products that include:

  • Cat food and dog food
  • Beer
  • Chocolate
  • Potato chips
  • Soy sauce
  • Sauce mixes, gravies, and batters
  • Dark breads

You must also remember the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other sugars in soda, considered to be one of the major culprits in obesity and other serious health problems. “Within 20 minutes of drinking a soda, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat,” reminds Dr. Mercola.

Even worse are the so-called diet sodas, which contain dangerous aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.

Swear off soda for life. Address your sugar cravings with effective tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Become a label reader as well – look beyond “splashy packaging that lures you into a false sense of security” and put the product back on the shelf if it contains caramel coloring.

Make pure, clear water your beverage of choice. Use a quality water filtration system to get rid of fluoride, toxins, and other unwanted contaminants in your drinking water.

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