Soda Ingredient Causes Cancer: New Research

Soda Ingredient Causes Cancer: New Research

Now 63% of Americans  are avoiding soda

At least 63% of Americans are actively avoiding soda, according to the American Gallup Poll 2014. Studies continue to reveal the adverse effects of consuming colas and sodas. There appears to be an upward trend aimed at healthier living and diets.

SodaIngredient In Soft Drinks Found To Cause Cancer

The potential carcinogen is formed during the manufacture of the familiar ‘caramel color‘ that is added to many widely consumed beverages.

Public health researchers analyzed soda consumption data to characterize people’s exposure to a carcinogenic by-product found in “caramel color,” which is a common ingredient found in dark-colored sodas. The results showed that between 44-58 percent of people over the age of six has at least one can of soda per day, exposing these people to 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI).

John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future estimated exposure to 4-MEI and modeled the cancer burden related to routine soda consumption within the United States.

“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes,” says Keeve Nachman, PhD, senior author of the study.

“This unnecessary exposure poses a threat to public health and raises questions about the continued use of caramel coloring in soda.”

In 2013 and 2014, Consumer Reports partnered with John Hopkins to analyze 4-MEI concentrations in 110 soda samples purchased in California and New York. The study then paired their results with the beverage consumption data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Using this data they estimated the population risks and cancer burden associated with soda consumption.

Researchers petition the FDA and Attorney Generals Office to consider dangers of 4-MEI

There is currently no federal guidelines or limits for 4-MEI in food and beverages. Consumer Reports has petitioned the FDA to set limits within the past year. They also shared their findings with the California Attorney General’s Office to enforce the Proposition 65 law that is aimed to reduce consumers exposure to toxic chemicals. This state law would require a health warning label warning consumers of carcinogenic exposure.

“This new analysis underscores our belief that people consume significant amounts of soda that unnecessarily elevate their risk of cancer over the course of a lifetime,” says Urvashi Rangan, PhD, executive director for Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center. “We believe beverage makers and the government should take the steps needed to protect public health. California has already taken an important step by setting a threshold for prompting Prop 65 labeling based on daily 4-MEI exposure from a food or beverage, such as a soda. This study sought to answer a critical question: How much soda do American consumers drink on average?”

While the 2014 study of the 110 samples of soda brands was not large enough to recommend one brand over another or draw conclusions about specific brands, results indicated that levels of 4-MEI could vary substantially across samples, even for the same type of beverage. “For example, for diet colas, certain samples had higher or more variable levels of the compound, while other samples had very low concentrations,” says Tyler Smith, lead author of the study and a program officer with the CLF.

Soda in California v New York had sharply contrasting levels of 4-MEI

The researchers were unable to recommend one brand of soda above another because the levels of 4-MEI varied substantially across samples of the exact same beverage.

“For example, for diet colas, certain samples had higher or more variable levels of the compound, while other samples had very low concentrations,” says Tyler Smith, lead author of the study.

“Our study also found that some of the soft drink products sold in California that we sampled had lower levels of 4-MEI than the samples we looked at of the same beverages sold outside the state, particularly in our earlier rounds of testing. It appears that regulations such as California’s Proposition 65 may be effective at reducing exposure to 4-MEI from soft drinks, and that beverages can be manufactured in ways that produce less 4-MEI,” suggests Nachman. “An FDA intervention, such as determining maximum levels for 4-MEI in beverages, could be a valuable approach to reducing excess cancer risk attributable to 4-MEI exposure in the U.S. population.”

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Image source: Pixabay

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1 Comment

  1. Healthier Living
    May 10, 07:14 #1 Healthier Living

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