Soda is bad for your health. But it may be even worse than you'd thought. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the "caramel coloring" used in Coke, Pepsi and other sodas is carcinogenic.
The artificial brown coloring is made by reacting corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressures and at high temperatures. This produces the chemicals 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, which have been found to cause lung, liver and thyroid cancer in lab rats and mice.
Time Magazine reports:
"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."
The FDA responded to the charge by saying:
"4-MI is not a threat to human health. There is no evidence that 4-MI causes cancer in humans. No health regulatory agency around the globe, including the Food and Drug Administration, has said that 4-MI 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."