People who consume more than one can of cold drinks a day are more likely to develop cancer in later years, a new study reveals. Researchers warned people to cut short their cold intake as an ingredient called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) used in making caramel colour can cause cancer. These caramel colors are widely used in manufacturing of dark coloured soft drinks.
“Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes,” said senior author Keeve Nachman, director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the CLF.
The study authors analyzed the consumer reports of 2013 and 2014 on 4-MEI concentration in soft drinks. The study also considered the average beverage consumption by an individual to estimate the cancer risk. The study found that these soft drinks do possess cancer threat in later years.
However, researchers were unable to distinguish individual brand from others as samples from the same brand differed in concentration of 4-MEI. Thus, scientists warned that every brand producing dark color soft drinks poses a similar threat. “This new analysis underscores our belief that people consume significant amounts of soda that unnecessarily elevate their risk of cancer over the course of a lifetime,” says Urvashi Rangan, PhD, executive director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center.
The study authors requested government and beverage makers to take necessary steps in protecting the public health. Companies shouldn’t make money keeping public health at stake. Moreover, it is up to the end users, who buy the product; they should be more careful and alert towards their health. Several other studies have also revealed other threats posed by soft drinks. Thus, researchers plead to the public, not to consume a high amount of soft drink on a regular basis. Instead, they suggested some alternatives like lemonade.