That cola drink you enjoy - may cause cancer
Caramel coloring to give soda its brown look known to contain carcinogen
The soft drinks you and your children may be consuming every day may have a cancer-causing agent. With this information, the old tag-line ""The pause . that refreshes" takes on an ominous, new meaning.
Coke came in at a negligible cancer level at one can of Coke. That said, we found other manufacturers - like Pepsi - really quite a lot higher than Coke. Malta Goya, which is a Hispanic soft drink, was actually at 300 or more micrograms per 12-ounce serving.
The harmful chemical in question is called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI. "It was in fact . definitely causes cancer in animal studies. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has also classified 4-MEI as a possible human carcinogen," Dr. Urvashi Rangan said.
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The chemical 4-MEI is a byproduct when caramel color is manufactured. However, the chemical is not in all caramel coloring and amounts vary widely in caramel-colored drinks, even when the same brands were tested just a few months apart.
"Coke came in at a negligible cancer level at one can of Coke. That said, we found other manufacturers - like Pepsi - really quite a lot higher than Coke," Dr. Rangan said.
"Malta Goya, which is a Hispanic soft drink, was actually at 300 or more micrograms per 12-ounce serving."
The caramel coloring is strictly cosmetic, without any of it contributing to taste. So California recently required warning labels on any food or beverages containing more than 29 micrograms of 4-MEI. There are no such federal requirements as of yet, so the only way the consumer is to avoid 4-MEI is to look for caramel coloring on the label.
Pepsi responded to the Consumer Reports study this week, saying the average amount of diet soda consumed by people is just 100 milliliters. For that reason the company believes that Pepsi One does not require cancer-risk warning labels.
One hundred milliliters is less than a third of a can of soda. A full can does exceed the California limit.
Don't be overly confident if you shop at a natural food store for overpriced items. Drinks labeled "natural" also contained caramel coloring. So make sure to read the ingredients.
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