Recent news stories, largely ignored by the mainstream media, indicate that most Pepsi products contain a warning label that they contain a carcinogen (a cancer-causing toxin) in California. That’s right: one of the world’s most popular sodas contains a carcinogen.
The carcinogen in question is 4-methylimidazole (or 4-MEI), which has been removed from Coca-Cola products. Coke only removed 4-MEI from its products because they would have to contain a warning label that they contained a cancer-causing ingredient in the Golden State.
Carcinogens in the Cola
An organization called the Center for Environmental Health tested Pepsi products sold in different parts of the US. The Center found that the products sold in California did not contain 4-MEI, but those sold in other parts of the country did.
Disturbingly, the Center’s experts noted that one in ten Coca-Cola products sold in the US still contain 4-MEI. The Center noted that there was progress in the efforts to make colas and other soda pops safer to drink.
The 4-MEI story is only the latest example of the dangers associated with drinking soda pop. Like most of the other health risks from soda, it is widely ignored by the mainstream media, possibly because of all the advertising that soda companies buy.
The truth is that you should not be drinking soda pop and definitely not be giving it to your kids because it is a threat to our health. 4-MEI is simply the tip of the iceberg in the dangers from soda.
Sugar is the Real Danger in Cola
The real cancer risk from soda is sugar, which prominent physicians, including CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of California at San Francisco’s medical center, call toxic.
Another health expert, Dr. Joseph Mercola, noted that a typical can of soda contains the equivalent of ten teaspoons of sugar. The sugar is there in the form of high fructose corn syrup – in reality, liquid corn sugar. Mercola pointed out that colas contain so much sugar their manufacturers have to add phosphate to them to keep people who drink them from vomiting.
Last year, a scientist named Lewis Cantley went on 60 Minutes and told Dr. Sanjay Gupta that he believes sugar actually feeds cancer. Cantley’s hypothesis is that sugar causes a spike in insulin, which can cause certain kinds of cancers to grow.
Cantley now recommends that people should not eat sugar because he thinks it increases your chances of getting cancer. It serves to reason that drinking sodas, which contain ten teaspoons of sugar, will have the same effect as eating sugar.
If Cantley is right, millions of parents who wouldn’t give their kids cigarettes are giving them something that could be just as bad: soda pop. Cantley told Gupta he now drinks water instead of sugary drinks such as cola.
Soda Can Also Cause Heart Attacks, Hypertension, Diabetes and Obesity
Of course, cancer is only the beginning of the problems consuming large amounts of sugar can cause. Dr. Lustig recently wrote a report for the American Heart Association that recommended that the average man should consume less than 150 calories of added sugar a day to avoid obesity and diabetes. That’s less than what you find in one can of soda. Lustig thinks women should consume even less sugar, perhaps less than 100 calories.
The reason for this is to prevent the development of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity. Lustig blames sugar and high-sugar foods for the increase of these problems since the 1970s in a widely viewed YouTube video called Sugar: the Bitter Truth.
His thesis is that consuming soda increases the chances of metabolic syndrome, which increases the chances of developing those problems. So not only does soda increase your risk of developing it, but it also could increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease.
Even Without Sugar, Soda Plays Havoc with the Digestive System and other Organs
Naturally, some people are saying, “So sugar’s bad? I’ll just reach for a can of sugar-free soda.” Not so fast. Even without sugar, soda still contains other toxins that can do serious damage to your body.
Some doctors, such as Mercola, believe the other chemicals in soda can cause other health problems, including liver damage, kidney problems, heartburn, acid reflux disease, and digestive problems. Mercola thinks that soda can wreak havoc with the digestive system.
He noted that carbonated beverages are very acidic and contain carbon dioxide, which can cause acid reflux disease. Mercola also noted acidic beverages can upset the acid-alkaline balance of the digestive system and cause inflammation of the stomach.
Liver, Kidney and DNA Damage
If that wasn’t bad enough, soda can increase the risk of liver cirrhosis much like alcohol does. Drinking just two sodas a day could double your risk of developing liver disease. So people who think they are protecting their livers by reaching for a Coke instead of a beer are deceiving themselves. Soda also contains high levels of phosphoric acid, which can cause kidney stones.
Pop can even damage your DNA. Sodium benzoate, a preservative found in some brands of soda, can cause serious DNA damage. This can lead to Parkinson’s disease and brain damage.
The phosphoric acid found in soda can lower calcium levels in your blood, which can lead to osteoporosis and weak bones. Another effect of this is that it can destroy tooth enamel, which makes tooth decay worse.
Aspartame is the Danger from Sugar-Free Pop
And we didn’t even mention the possible dangers from aspartame and other artificial sweeteners yet. A documentary called Sweet Misery noted that aspartame, the most common sweetener used in sugar free sodas, has been linked to 91 different health problems.
The Food and Drug Administration alone has received over 10,000 complaints related to aspartame and its effects. Some of the worst side effects from aspartame include brain damage, damage to the eyes, behavioral problems, hearing loss, insomnia, and joint pain. Incredibly, it’s even been linked to weight gain, yet aspartame is added to so-called diet colas.
Find Alternatives to Soda Pop Now
The available evidence seems to be that soda pop is as bad for your family as cigarettes are. It’s probably worse than alcohol, yet families that would never touch liquor are drinking large amounts of it every day.
One of the best things that you can do for your family’s health is to give up on soda pop now. If you have it in your house, throw it out and don’t buy anymore. You’ll hear some complaints from the kids, but be firm.
A good place to begin is to watch Dr. Gupta’s excellent report on sugar. Show your family why this stuff is so bad and why you have to go cold turkey on it now.
There are many excellent alternatives to soda out there, including juice, tea, water, milk, and more. Try drinking iced tea or just plain tea instead of soda. Contrary to popular belief, iced tea without sugar can taste really good. The trick is to get used to drinking it.
I used to be a sugar fanatic who put the stuff in everything. Then I went cold turkey about 20 years ago. Today, I can’t stand tea or coffee with sugar in it. I found that I actually like the taste of tea and coffee, yet it took me some time to get used to it. I also found that I can live without soda pop, even when I go out to eat.
If we want to protect our families from problems like diabetes, cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, heart disease, and more, we need to start treating soda pop like cigarettes. We need to start avoiding it like the plague for our health.
UPDATE: Off the Grid News has learned that Pepsi has plans to eliminate the controversial caramel coloring 4-MEI from its products nationwide by February 2014.