Soda is not good for you. The high-calorie, sugary drinks have been linked to obesity and a host of other health problems. Soda can be particularly dangerous to children, who can consume lots of calories quickly through colas and other pop without feeling full. And then there’s the dental toll — it doesn’t take a peer-reviewed study to tell you that drinking lots of sweetened soda isn’t great for your teeth.
But soda isn’t just water, corn syrup and carbonation — a can of Coke or Pepsi also contains chemical additives for coloring and flavoring. And according to one public health group, those additives could increase your chance of getting cancer.
That’s the message from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a Washington-based consumer watchdog group. CSPI has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the “caramel coloring” that is used in Coke, Pepsi and other sodas, on the grounds that the chemicals are carcinogenic.
CSPI says the artificial brown coloring — which doesn’t have much to do with actual caramel, despite the name — is made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressures and at high temperatures. (Just like Mom used to do it!) Those reactions produce the chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole — chemicals that government studies have found to cause lung, liver or thyroid cancer in lab rats or mice. “It’s a small but significant risk, and it’s the kind of thing that government agencies should deal with,” says Michael Jacobson, the executive director of CSPI.
Is Jacobson right? A 2007 study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) found “clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) in male and
female B6C3F1 mice based on increased incidences of alveolar/bronchiolar neoplasms,” otherwise known as lung tumors. The state of California has also concluded that 4-MEI is a carcinogen, and is in the process of crafting regulations that may require food and drinks containing significant levels of the chemical to bear cancer warnings.
According to California’s regulators, a level of more than 16 micrograms per day would pose a significant risk — meaning it could result in at least one excess case of cancer per 100,000 exposed people. Given that there are roughly 130 micrograms of 4-MI per 12-ounce can of soda — and given that the average American drinks 14 ounces of soda a day, with young men drinking far more — that would mean that most of us would be at some risk.
As a result, CSPI has been petitioning the FDA to change the name or ban the use of the chemicals in soda and other foods, or at least force manufacturers to put warning labels on their packaging. “We think industry can solve this problem,” says Jacobson. “They don’t want to put warning labels on their products.”
The soda industry, however, is fighting back. In a statement the American Beverage Association — an industry group that includes soda makers — denied that 4-MEI posed any danger to human health:
4-MEI is not a threat to human health. There is no evidence that 4-MEI causes cancer in humans. No health regulatory agency around the globe, including the Food and Drug Administration, has said that 4-MEI is a human carcinogen. This petition is nothing more than another attempt to scare consumers by an advocacy group long-dedicated to attacking the food and beverage industry.
In California a number of industry groups — including the American Beverage Association — have filed a lawsuit against state regulators to block efforts to list 4-MEI as a carcinogen:
The state agency’s decision does not reflect sound science and failed to follow its own regulations. Also, it did not take into account all the data available on the subject in this process.
In spite of the fact that the FDA has banned the drink Four Loko, students still want it, which makes the manufacturer of it very happy. Some students have had to find medical help as a result of the over consumption of this drink that combines alcohol and caffeine. Recently, some University students had to be taken to the hospital after they blacked out at party. It is becoming apparent that regular consumption of this drink could lead to alcohol addiction. This, in turn, will eventually require North Carolina alcoholism detoxification for regular Four Loko drinkers who live in the Tar Heel state.
At a recent music concert almost 30 people were treated an illness that was determined to be related to alcohol and 11 people were taken to the hospital. The drink Four Loko has also been involved of deadly automobile accidents. As a result of a study that was conducted and these incidents, the FDA sent warning letters four of the companies that manufacture the mixed beverage.
The drink Four Loko is the equivalent of 8oz. of coffee and four beers. Some health officials believe that the drink is dangerous since the caffeine hides the level of intoxication, which makes it hard for the consumers to determine their limit accurately. There have been some scientific studies that have even determined hat caffeine is a food additive that is unsafe.
Despite what the experts say, the makers of Four Loko disagree. Phusion Projects say that the drink Four Loko is no more concerning than consuming Red Bull and Vodka. They still believe the combination of caffeine and alcohol is safe. Further, popular drinks such as Irish coffees and rum and colas that have been consumed responsibly and safely or years should be facing the same scrutiny that the drink Four Loko have faced recently.
The FDA website recently reported that of the combined use of alcohol and caffeine among college student in the United States, the use was as much as 26%. Most college students don’t see a problem with the energy drink. Although the statement by Four Loko CEO might be considered by some to be a valid argument, others believe they see the social influences combined with the science of their product as a larger possible risk than any other mixed drink.
ScienceDaily (Jun. 17, 2008) — A new study has good news for coffee drinkers: Regular coffee drinking (up to 6 cups per day) is not associated with increased deaths in either men or women.
In fact, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption is associated with a somewhat smaller rate of death from heart disease.
“Coffee consumption has been linked to various beneficial and detrimental health effects, but data on its relation with death were lacking,” says Esther Lopez-Garcia, PhD, the study’s lead author. “Coffee consumption was not associated with a higher risk of mortality in middle-aged men and women. The possibility of a modest benefit of coffee consumption on heart disease, cancer, and other causes of death needs to be further investigated.”
Women consuming two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease during the follow-up period (which lasted from 1980 to 2004 and involved 84,214 women) as compared with non-consumers, and an 18 percent lower risk of death caused by something other than cancer or heart disease as compared with non-consumers during follow-up.
For men, this level of consumption was associated with neither a higher nor a lower risk of death during the follow-up period (which lasted from 1986 to 2004 and involved 41,736 men).
The researchers analyzed data of 84,214 women who had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and 41,736 men who had participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. To be in the current study, participants had to have been free of cancer and heart disease at the start of those larger studies.
The study participants completed questionnaires every two to four years that included questions about how frequently they drank coffee, other diet habits, smoking, and health conditions. The researchers then compared the frequency of death from any cause, death due to heart disease, and death due to cancer among people with different coffee-drinking habits.
Among women, 2,368 deaths were due to heart disease, 5,011 were due to cancer, and 3,716 were due to another cause. Among men, 2,049 deaths were due to heart disease, 2,491 were due to cancer, and 2,348 were due to another cause.
While accounting for other risk factors, such as body size, smoking, diet, and specific diseases, the researchers found that people who drank more coffee were less likely to die during the follow-up period. This was mainly because of lower risk for heart disease deaths among coffee drinkers.
The researchers found no association between coffee drinking and cancer deaths. These relationships did not seem to be related to caffeine because people who drank decaffeinated coffee also had lower death rates than people who did not drink coffee.
The editors of Annals of Internal Medicine caution that the design of the study does not make it certain that coffee decreases the chances of dying sooner than expected. Something else about coffee drinkers might be protecting them. And some measurement error in the assessment of coffee consumption is inevitable because estimated consumption came from self-reports.
This study was supported by National Institutes of Health research grants.
Black tea promotes healthy arteries and increased blood flow due to antioxidants called falconoids, which give tea its flavor. Cholesterol levels drop as tea consumption increases. Tea is reported to reduce the risk of cancer, yield fresher breath and fewer cavities, and help build bones. It also contains approximately half the caffeine of coffee, and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Making a Cup of Black Tea
The single most important thing to remember in all of this process is heat. The tea leafs impart their taste to the water most effectively when the water is actually boiling. To make really good tea you must go to every length possible to exclude coldness from the equation.
Tea in the cup is easy. If someone asks you for a cup of black tea and you put a bag in a cup and add boiling water no one is going to complain. However… to make a REALLY GOOD cup of black tea…
Boil a kettle with freshly drawn COLD water. Add a little boiling water to the empty tea cup to warm it. Put a single bag of black tea into the bottom of the cup making certain that the tea takes up as much of the visible surface area as possible.
When the water is boiling pour it into the cup by taking the kettle to the cup and trying to make certain that as much boiling water hits as much tea as soon as possible. Leave to infuse. The tea in tea bags is so fine that two minutes should see you right.
Always take out the tea bag before giving the cup to someone else especially since if you leave a tea bag in then soon enough all the air caught within it will escape and the tea bag will sink to the bottom of the cup where it will lie in wait for the unwary and then, just as you move to drain the last dregs of the drink, it will rush from the darkness like a some satanic seal desperate to invade your mouth and propigate it’s evil children in the cavities of your cheeks. Well may be it’s not that bad, but it is really unpleasant to get that big cold wet kiss of a sulking tea bag.
Don’t add sugar. Sugar is unnecessary, unhealthy and masks the delicious flavor of tea. Most importantly when making a cup of black tea is NEVER “top up” a cup with more water. “Topping up” does not make more black tea in the cup it makes the same amount of tea diluted with more water. This will kill the taste of your tea and make you generally hated by all right minded tea drinkers. Be prepared when adding the water first – realize that you will have to take the tea bag out and realize that you will probably need to leave a little room for milk.
People drink Black tea with sugar, milk and syrups. In the US and Europe people often just want a slice of Lemon with their black tea.
People all over the world always choose drinking tea with cookies, sweets or cakes sitting in front of the TV or talking to friends.
Black Tea Recipes
Iced Black Tea
Pour one cup of boiling water over two tea bags, let steep for 3 to 5 minutes. For stronger flavor, steep longer, or use more tea bags. Remove and squeeze out tea bags. Add ice and enjoy. Make a larger quantity using more tea bags and water, and refrigerate the rest to drink throughout the day.
Egg Nog Delight
6 Red Rose English Breakfast tea bags
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 quart milk
1/2 pint whipping cream
Brew Red Rose tea bags in 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Cool tea. Add beaten eggs, condensed milk, vanilla, salt, tea, milk and mix well. Serve in mugs. Top each mug with whipping cream and ground nutmeg.
Earl Grey Punch
1 and 1/4 cups of brewed Earl Grey (made with two tbsps. leaves)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups of orange juice
1/2 cups apple juice
1 cup gingerale
1 tbsp. sugar
2 sprigs of mint (optional)
Dark rum to taste (optional)
Mix all ingredients together leaving out the ice cubes. Chill in refrigerator. Remove mint, add ice cubes and serve.
Migraines affect more than 36 million Americans – that’s nearly one out of every ten people! It’s also in the top twenty disabilities that cause people to miss work. The thing is, if they all knew this secret to curing and preventing these chronically severe headaches, that number would see a drastic reduction.
Fruit tea - one word describes it - DELICIOUS and HEALTHY.
Fruit tea comprised of browned shredded quince which has been oven-dried, dry-grilled until brown, and stored ready to steep in boiling water.