Responsible for giving colas their popular brown look, a widely used food coloring known as caramel coloring may be increasing your cancer risk. Consumer watchdog group Center for Sciences in the Public Interest is so consumed over caramel coloring that they have been urging the Food and Drug Administration for quite some time to ban the use of the ingredient.
Caramel Coloring Shown to be Causing Health Complications
First writing the FDA in 2011, CSPI mentioned how 2-methylimidazole (2-MI) and 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), which form upon creation of caramel coloring, are causing lung, liver, and thyroid cancer in mice. In a more recent letter written by the CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Jacobson told the commissioner how recent lab analyses showed very high levels of 4-MI in sodas. The state of California recommends a limit of 29 micrograms for 4-MI, but the analyses showed levels exceeding that by nearly 5 times.
“When most people see ‘caramel coloring’ on food labels, they likely interpret that quite literally and assume the ingredient is similar to what you might get by gently melting sugar in a saucepan. The reality it quite different,” said Jacobson in a statement.
“The caramel coloring added to soft drinks serves a totally cosmetic function,…we suspect that most consumers would prefer a clear beverage without an unnecessary carcinogen over a dark-brown beverage with a carcinogen,” the letter said.
While caramel coloring may be a potential issue, the real threats continue to be high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and the deathly amount of sugar used in soft drinks. Known for containing toxic mercury, high-fructose corn syrup has been shown to cause obesity, liver damage, and cancer. The amount of sugar added to soft drinks, almost always in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, is also of great concern. Carcinogenic sugars are running rampant in the food supply, with an average bottle of Coke containing 60 grams. These over-consumed sugars are leading to DNA damage, altered cellular metabolism, increased production of free radicals, obesity, cancer, and much more.
To avoid the hazards of these sugars and hopefully lose weight, soda drinkers often turn to diet sodas instead. Unfortunately a toxic artificial sweetener known as aspartame is simply replacing high-fructose corn syrup in the health-destruction. Instead of containing mercury like high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame instead poses a different threat – the sweetener is made through a process that involves genetically modified bacteria. Consuming this ingredient has been linked to tumor development, hastened kidney function decline, a number of neurological symptoms, and will not help you lose weight.