We as consumers seem to be catching on to the harmful products being added to our foods and beverages. It seems that every time I check my Twitter account, there is another article about an additive and its harmful effects on the body. You may have heard about the recent uproar regarding Subway and the use of the same chemicals found in yoga mats being found in their bread. All of this is to save money and add shelf life (maybe that is why my clothes smell after I spend greater than 5 minutes in that place!). The difference in quality is not that much better because of the use of these products. I just wanted to educate you on the caramel additive in most soft drinks that is found to be carcinogenic in mice. That ingredient is caramel coloring. Caramel coloring gives drinks their brown color so you will not find it in Sprite or Mountain Dew, but you definitely will in Pepsi and Coke. Some types of this artificial coloring contain a potentially carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI) and is the single most used food coloring in our food. Under California’s Proposition 65 law, any food or beverage sold in the state that exposes consumers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per day is supposed to carry a health-warning label. Consumer Reports did some homework on the levels found in these different drinks and discovered that they still contained higher levels in these drinks than California had allowed and if they tested levels in New York they were even higher because of the lack of regulation. There are four types of caramel coloring, only the two made with ammonia compounds can contain 4-MeI. However, manufacturers can use the general term “artificial color” interchangeably with “caramel color”. We have to stay educated on the trickery used by the food industry if we want to eat healthy. Soda drink sales are declining as people seem to be catching on to their harmful effects.
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Dr. Mark Giovanini
Scott Rusin is the Director of Physical Therapy at the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center in Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. He has a degree in Physical Therapy, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Nike Golf NG360 Performance Specialist Powered by the Gray Institute.