Is Soda bad for you?
La La La I Can’t Hear You
Yesterday I was casually chatting with a nurse practitioner about nutrition and her comment to me was, unless you can PROVE to me that hormones and antibiotics in food are harmful, I am not buying organic anything.
Ironically, where is the proof that any of those things ARE safe? Because people aren’t keeling over immediately from ingesting growth hormones, antibiotics, chemicals and GMOs they are free and clear to eat?
Is proof really what most people want?
I have had a few friends scoff at me because if and when (on a very rare occasion now) that I would eat potato chips, I would buy organic chips. Not because I thought they were “healthy” but because I didn’t want the added pesticides. Wah Wah.
On a recent episode, Dr. Oz submitted organic and conventionally grown potatoes to an outside lab and had them tested…
The conventionally grown potato had 10 times the amount of pesticides than the organic potato.
Compelling enough to give up your conventional potato chips and fries?
Interestingly, McDonalds french fries used to be fried in beef tallow, but in the 90s “low fat” mentality became dogma and out with heat stable fats, and in with susceptible to oxidation GMO vegetable oils.
Well. Not to be a total Debbie Downer, but even organic chips and fries are not healthy, as they are FRIED in (rancid) oils…
La La La. I can’t hear you.
What’s a better alternative?
Organic Kale chips. Zucchini Chips. Sweet Potato fries and chips (with avocado or coconut oil), Baked in the oven or made with a food dehydrator.
Baby step alternative? Buying organic potatoes and pan frying or bake them yourself in heat stable fat or oil.
Getting to my point, I gave up diet coke (and all soda) over a year ago.
Coupled with the sugar substitute issue, learning about caramel coloring was the final blow to make me want to swiftly remove it from my life.
To sum up the cons of soda:
- High Sugar content (high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners)
- Phosphoric acid
- Carmel coloring
- BPA lined cans
Sugar could and should be an entirely separate topic. For the purpose of this post, The New York Times reported in 2010, roughly 50 gallons (of soda) per person per year is consumed.
Breaking that down, 1 gallon= 128 ounces. 128 ounces/12 ounces= 533 cans of soda
You drink it in “moderation” and only have one can a day… That equates to 14,235 grams of sugar.
Phosphoric acid is naturally occurring in some foods and the amount per can of soda will be argued as minuscule. Explaining to someone about the importance of a proper phosphorous to calcium ratio for bone mineralization is a snooze feast, but another thing to consider about phosphoric acid is the effect it can have on tooth enamel.
The ADA cites:
Most soft drinks contain phosphoric acid and citric acid. Prolonged exposure to acids can do permanent damage to teeth by producing a condition called “erosion”, or the loss of hard tissues from the tooth surface. It is widely accepted that acid in food and beverages plays a major role in in the development of enamel erosion. Diet soft drinks rely on nonnutritive sweeteners instead of sugar. They also are acidic and may increase the risk of experiencing enamel erosion, although the research on the role of soft drinks and tooth erosion is preliminary.
Caramel Coloring. I reported to some of my family and friends last summer this information on caramel coloring in soda, but I am not sure how many I convinced to give up the bubbly beverage.
Consumer Reports investigated the use of caramel coloring in sodas.
Caramel color, added to many soft drinks and some foods to turn them brown, may sound harmless, even appetizing. But in no way does it resemble real caramel.
Some types of this artificial coloring contain a potentially carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI). Under California’s Proposition 65 law, any food or beverage sold in the state that exposes consumers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per day is supposed to carry a health-warning label.
In recent Consumer Reports’ tests, each of the 12-ounce samples of Pepsi One and Malta Goya had more than 29 micrograms per can or bottle
In 2012, California enacted that 4-MEL must carry a warning label if product was above set limit and two years later, Consumer Reports wanted to check the levels in the products and to see if any manufactures had such warning label applied.
They tested at (4) different time points: April, July, September, and December 2013.
12 different brands were tested. One brand had over 350 mcg/ bottle. 10 times the threshold set by California.
The levels in California and the levels in New York initially had very different levels, but the tests in December were reported to contain lower amounts.
In California, Pepsi was just under the threshold of 29 mcg, whereas Coke was closer to 5 mcg.
I am not one for ‘I told you so’ (actually I hate when people say that) so watch this clip and let Dr. Oz bring this topic to you.
My first thought was, Pepsi, nor any of the other brands initiated this change, and it appears that (initially) lowering their levels was not out of concern for public health. Unless lowered, they were to bear a cancer-containing ingredient on the label on their products.
La La La. I can’t hear you
If you don’t want to give up your soda, did you know that it IS possible to make caramel coloring without 4-MEL?
The FDA classifies caramel coloring into (4) different classes.
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) easily explains the classes:
Complex mixtures of mixtures of compounds, some of which are in the form of colloidal aggregates, manufactured by heating carbohydrates either alone or in the presence of food-grade acids, alkalis or salts; classified according to the reactants used in their manufacture as follows:
Class I: Prepared by heating carbohydrates with or without acids or alkalis; no ammonium or sulfite compounds are used.
Class II: Prepared by heating carbohydrates with or without acids or alkalis in the presence of sulfite compounds; no ammonium
Class III: Prepared by heating carbohydrates with or without acids or alkalis in the presence of ammonium compounds; no sulfite compounds are used.
Class IV: Prepared by heating carbohydrates with or without acids or alkalis in the presence of both sulfite and ammonium compounds
4-MEL is class IV. So, sulfates and ammonium are allowed to be used to make your favorite food and beverages brown.
Here is a recipe for caramel syrup.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
No ammonium added!
If you are asking for (more) proof 4-MEL is not safe; maybe a better question to ask yourself is, do you think ingesting any amount of ammonia/ammonia-sulfate is a good idea? Or look at it this way. If you could choose between a soda with ammonia (4-MEL caramel) or one without ammonia, which would you pick? Supply and demand… The public demands no 4-MEL, we stop buying it, the demand for better alternatives increases.
I’ll preface my product swap with the obvious, soda is not healthy, but if (on occasion) you need your bubbly cola fix, I have found Oogave Soda
Compare the labels.
According to this manufacture of caramel coloring, Organic caramel does not contain GMOs and uses organic sugar.
The oogave Cola has 16 grams LESS sugar, 15 grams LESS carbs, and 40 LESS calories. Organic and non-GMO ingredients.
No phosphoic acid.
Comes in Glass (no BPA).
You may argue that it is more expensive than Coke or Pepsi. Yes. True. Maybe cost would help limit consumption.
And lastly, I’ll briefly touch on the fact that aluminum cans are lined with BPA. In addition to soda, that includes LaCroix and any juices or beverages sold in cans.
And, I won’t belabor the fact that buying cans is adding to our environmental waste.
There are better ingredients that are healthier for us out there. And for the food industry that says otherwise,
La La La. I can’t hear you.
UPDATE: If and on the rare occasion I do drink soda, I will drink Zevia. It is sweetened with Stevia.