Drinking soda almost seems to be an American way of life. But what millions of Americans don’t know about their favorite sugary beverages may, in fact, hurt them.
Research carried out and disclosed in a 2014 Consumer Reports study showed levels of a chemical called 4-Methylimidazole (4-Mel) are dangerously high in a range of sodas, especially in Pepsi products. This compound is generally added to create the classic caramel color we’re so used to seeing, but it also has a host of harmful side effects.
4-Mel is a known carcinogen, which means it greatly increases the risk of cancer when consumed. Knowing this, the Food and Drug Administration put in place a number of important restrictions and regulations to keep the amount of 4-Mel used in sodas to a minimum.
Apparently Pepsi didn’t get the memo. While other soda companies like Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper fell well within the boundaries of 29 micrograms per bottle, Pepsi products initially sampled in California New York had anywhere from 24 to 182 micrograms packed inside.
After this information was made available to the public, Mary Hall (on behalf all Californians who purchased Pepsi products such as classic Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero) began a serious lawsuit against the company.
Sure enough, after years of discussion and deliberation, a California judge ruled in her favor.
Now in the settlement to the suit, Pepsi is required to undergo rigorous testing to ensure that its soda is following guidelines regarding 4-Mel levels. In addition to the regulations set in place, the massive soda manufacturer also has to disclosure the cancer risk on its packaging!
Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., toxicologist and executive director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center, says this harmful ingredient has no place in the food and beverage market.
“No matter how much consumers drink they don’t expect their beverages to have a potential carcinogen in them. And we don’t think 4-MeI should be in foods at all. Our tests of Coke samples show that it is possible to get to much lower levels.”
With the added risk of cancer, compiled with the excess sugar and other plentiful health-related complications, soda is becoming a thing of the past. It’s just not worth risking your life for a sweet drink that can easily be substituted for a natural beverage!