There is a new Consumer Reports study showing that soda could be a health risk factor, as the average American drinks enough soda to develop cancer from the sugary beverages.
The dangerous ingredient is caramel color, used by a lot of soda manufacturers in order to achieve that rich brown color in cola or other similar products. However, only some variations of this ingredient contain the possible carcinogen known as 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel). Further investigation is needed to support this study, which was conducted with the help of researchers from Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF).
The study’s conclusions are based on a research done on 110 samples of sodas. They found different concentrations of 4-Mel in a lot of the brands’ products. Some of them presented no labeled warning for containing, in a single can, ten times the daily amount of 4-Mel allowed under the California law. Why? Because, currently, there is no official limit for labeling 4-Mel.
The research used existing data compiled by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Their survey covered seven years, and it focused on measuring how much soda Americans drink. The study revealed that more than half of Americans, with ages 6 to 64, have a habit of drinking soda daily. The greatest soda consumption was registered in the age group between 16 and 44 years old, reaching even three cans a days of sugary beverages.
The study concluded that 4-Mel in caramel coloring could be the cause of cancer for a number of people, anywhere between 76 and 5,000. Consequently, Consumer Reports sent the study and a notice to the Federal government, requesting that the chemical be labeled on the soda cans.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, approximately 25 percent of 4-Mel reaches Americans’ diets through soda, but even so, sugary beverages are not the only ones containing caramel coloring; soups, breads, syrup and barbecue sauce are also red-flagged.
And the most worrying thing is that soft drink consumers face an unnecessary cancer risk, just because soda manufacturers add the caramel color for aesthetic purposes, as stated by Keeve Nachman from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Different amounts of 4-Mel were present in most brands, but they varied most among diet sodas. But further lab work is needed before researchers reach a conclusion about the relative risks between brands.
However, even with the knowledge we have so far, federal regulations which would limit concentrations of 4-Mel could help reduce cancer risks.
Image Source: News Wise