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.
Have you ever wondered if a cup of coffee or tea and milk can substitute as one of your recommended eight glasses of water a day?
Most drinks do a good job of hydrating, but the components of some common drinks sharply reduce their hydrating ability.
Which drinks are the best hydrators, and which the worst? Here are the three most hydrating and the four least hydrating drinks.
Drinks That Are Strong Hydrators
Water is the preeminent beverage for correctly hydrating the body.
Herbal Teas (Infusions)
The leaves from plants such as mint, verbena, linden, balm, and so on give a pleasant aroma and flavor to the water in which they are steeped, which makes infusions a satisfying alternative to people who don’t enjoy drinking plain water.
The medicinal properties of the plants do not have a negative effect on the body’s assimilation of the water.
Note: The benefit does not extend to sweetened infusions, or if the tea is made with plants that have diuretic properties, such as dandelion.
Fruit and Vegetable Juices
The water in fruits and vegetables–their juice–is one of the liquids nature has provided for hydrating our bodies. Juice is water bound to a substance. To maintain our harmonic balance with nature and avoid taking in too high a concentration of nutrients and sugars, we should consider juice a secondary resource to be used in moderation.
Drinks that Are Weak Hydrators
Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa
Drinks that have a base of coffee, black tea, or cocoa are quite high in purins, toxins that must be eliminated from the body by urine or sweat in the form of uric acid. Purines need to be diluted in large quantities of liquid to be evacuated without irritation. A good portion of the water consumed with these drinks is used to eliminate the toxins.
Milk is a food, not a drink, and its digestion by adults is frequently incomplete.
Whey, on the other hand, is very easily digested, but its diuretic properties are an impediment to its consumption as a daily beverage.
Soft drinks often have a high caffeine base, a diuretic, which makes a body lose water before it has time to make its way into the intracellular environment. The other problem comes from the high sugar content of most sodas. The body has a hard time properly metabolizing refined sugar. To correct the reaction to this, the body has to surrender water from the extracellular fluid. Because that makes a person thirsty, a vicious circle is created, as the thirst is being maintained by the very beverage that is drink with the intention of getting rid of it.
Alcohol itself has dehydrating properties, removing water from the tissues it contacts and drying them out and increasing the need for water.
Adapted from The Water Prescription, by Christopher Vasey, N.D.
It is possible that adding a large tax on sugary drinks might help the people of the United States to lose weight.
A study that was recently published has determined that it would help American lose weight should the tax was large enough.
However, even then the benefits would primarily be accrued by the middle class and be modest at best.
If the United Stated added a 40% tax to the price of sugary drinks such as sports drinks and sodas that were purchased in a retail store, it would reduce approximately 12 calories from the daily intake of beverages for the average person in the United States. This would translate into a person losing approximately 1 1/4 pounds.
Without doing all of the calculations, it turns out that a 20 % tax wouldn’t work as well as a 40% tax for discouraging the drinking of sugary drinks. Also, should the tax cover more kinds of sugary drinks, the reduction in caloric intake would be somewhat increased which would reduce the options for a substitution of a lower tax.
However, if such a tax could become politically palatable, the benefits from such a tax wouldn’t be advantageous for everybody. The study also determined that increasing the taxes on sugary drinks wouldn’t reduce the weight of the poorest of the wealthiest people in the United States significantly.
The idea of taxing junk food and sugary beverages is gaining some support in some political circles. However, it might be impossible to get public support for such taxes. Recently, a survey was conducted in which people in the United States were ask for their opinion a tax increase directed at sugary drinks.
Over 3,000 people or 51% if the people surveyed either opposed or strongly opposed such tax increases. Only about 1/3 of those surveyed were in favor of a tax increase.
However, there is the deficit to consider and one factor might be how much money the increased taxes might raise. It has been estimated that a tax of 40% on a variety of sugary drinks might gather over $2,500,000,000.
Over the past 40 years the consumption of soda has increased substantially, much to the pleasure of the soda manufacturers; however, so have the ill effects of its over consumption.
The fact is that today kids consume way too much sugar as compared to 40 years ago. Teenagers are drinking less milk and, as a result, are getting less calcium. They are getting about 40% of their energy/sugar calories from soft drinks.
Currently, teens are drinking half as much milk as soda as compared to 20 years ago. There have been research studies which show that teenage girls who require 1300mg of calcium/day are only getting about 800mg. This lack of calcium can predispose one to broken bones and osteoporosis. Calcium is also important for bone development up to the age of 18.
It is a natural fact that teenage girls who drink too much soda have a much greater risk of breaking a bone or developing osteoporosis. Three cans of soda/day poses a serious risk for teenage boys. Males in the 12 to 29 age range are known to be the single largest group of people who indulge in soda. The risks to one’s health from the over consumption of soda include tooth decay and destruction, osteoporosis, obesity, kidney stones, and diabetes.
Soda contents include caffeine, acid, additive dye, and a high fructose corn syrup. An average can of soda has about 10 to 12 tsp of sugar or 40 to 48 grams of phosphoric or carbonic acid.
The fructose syrup contains zero nutritional value. Caffeine, which is stimulant that is mildly addictive, causes calcium excretion that can result in an increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis.
Most people think that the sugar in the soda is bad and that is what causes tooth decay. However, the research shows that the real danger is in the acid. The phosphoric or carbonic acid dissolves the calcium out of the enamel leaving it a softened matrix for bacteria to enter the teeth and cause wholesale tooth destruction. Therefore, sugar free sodas are not a viable answer.
Most individuals who drink a lot of soda range from some minor decalcification of teeth, with white bands of softened enamel which encircle the teeth at or near the gum line to cases where numerous teeth are totally destroyed from decay.
Many of these individuals are students who study while continuously sipping a soda which creates an acid bath for their teeth. Don’t forget the fact that the sugar itself is also converted to acid by the bacteria on the teeth. Coupled all this with poor dental hygiene and you have a recipe for an oral disaster in the making.
The public should be educated regarding the ill effects and the soda companies need to take some responsibility since they insist on glorifying drinking their brands as being a sort of cool. So the next time your kids or you drink a soda, be aware and concerned. Always use moderation. Don’t bathe your teeth in acid, rinse with water and practice good oral hygiene.
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.