Is Soda Carcinogenic

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It’s a widely known fact that excess consumption of soda doesn’t make for a particularly healthy lifestyle. Doctors and nutritionists agree that daily consumption of soda is associated with many health complications and diseases such as weight gain, obesity, dental issues, cardiovascular disease and some of these health complications increase someone’s risk of developing cancer.  However, new research found that some of the ingredients used to make soda can become carcinogenic. Most research can’t prove direct correlations between drinking soda and cancer, but it did find that drinking as little as 3 to 4 ounces of sugary drinks each day was tied to an 18% rise in overall risk for cancer. Among women, a similar consumption level was tied to a 22% rise in breast cancer risk, a French research team found. A spokesperson for the American Cancer Society (ACS) said the findings from these recent studies should be a cause of concern, because obesity is a known risk factor for cancer.


ingredients to be aware of


Added Sugars

Sugar is a natural need for the body however most people consume way more sugar than what is needed by the body and this is often due to foods and beverages with added sugars including sodas. In full-calorie sodas, high fructose corn syrup is used as a sweetener.  Most processed foods and beverages use high fructose corn syrup as their sweetener foundation. Excess sugar can have a massive effect on your body and health. Naturally, your body processes sugar through the pancreas and releases insulin to convert sugar to glucose for energy, however, when someone is already overweight or even obese the cells can become resistant to insulin. When there is excess sugar in your bloodstream a condition called hypoglycemia occurs. Hypoglycemia tends to be the beginning of type 2 diabetes. 

Obesity is another cause of too much sugar in the bloodstream. When the body cannot metabolize excess sugars it’s absorbed by fat cells and creates triglycerides. This often leads to obesity. Obesity’s underlying conditions, including excess fat cells, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammation, are thought to play a role in the development of cancer; in fact, obesity has been linked to thirteen different types of cancer.


Artificial sweetness and additives 

As we all know diet soda can be a bit misleading with the fact that it contains no sugar or calories. While it lacks actual sugar as a replacement it has artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which is about 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. Because artificial sweeteners are sweeter than actual sugar it’s used in lower dosages in products such as soda to give the same sweet taste like sugar. As of right now, artificial sweeteners are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA, like the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Some of the most common additives are:

  • Saccharin
  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Cyclamate

Researchers have examined artificial sweeteners’ effect on the body but yield inconsistent results. Some studies have seen artificially-sweetened beverages assist with weight loss and maintenance, while others have shown that artificial sweeteners can actually trigger sugar cravings, often resulting in weight gain. More recent studies are examining correlations between artificial sweeteners and insulin resistance, as well as type 2 diabetes, and correlation with colon cancers.


4-MEI (4-methylimidazole) is a chemical found in the most common artificial coloring (caramel coloring) in processed food and drinks. As of right now, this chemical is FDA approved even though it was once believed to be directly carcinogenic. There is not enough long-term evidence provided to the FDA to be deemed unsafe for consumption in lower doses. While technically this chemical does not have to be FDA approved since it doesn’t follow the guidelines for color additive. Technically this chemical cannot be removed or recalled by the FDA since “4-MEI is formed during a normal cooking process”. 


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