Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Woes of Soda Pop

Last week the Center for Science in the Public Interest issued a press release reporting on how the caramel coloring used in dark colored pops - e.g. Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper, is made with a process of sugar and ammonia that makes the resulting caramel food dye carcinogenic.  They called on the FDA to ban the ingredient.  

My response to this is almost a yawn and "so what?"  There are a lot of reasons not to be drinking pop, what is one more?  In light of the article, the stupidity begins, in general, with how much synthetic food dye is utilized by processed food and beverage manufacturers (and it IS
manufacture - not cooking!)  For what conceivable reason?  To make the twisted less-than-fully-nutritious "stuff" they're selling look good for the food beauty contest?    I remember Lucky Charms commercials with their colored marshmallows did not sound a great deal different from the Tide commercials with brighter colors promised, or different from the Kodak commercials of redder reds, etc.  Is there anyone still consuming a large part of their diets with food dyes?  Sadly, of course there is, for dyes are in everything apart from whole food cooking!  I'd argue the CSPI did not go far enough in their call for a ban.  The FDA ought to ban ALL artificial food dye.  If a company wants red, let them use beet; or orange use turmeric, or green use chlorophyll; but yellow dye # 5, or lake blue #10?   Come on, please save us!  There is an absolute positive link between food dyes and many behavioral disorders, the largest perhaps is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Then apart from the dyes there are preservatives.  As a naturopathic colleague of mine once noted: "If a 'food' can sit on a shelf for several months (or years) without spoiling such that self-respecting bacteria and fungus don't want it, CAN it really be anything our bodies need or want either?"  What DOES keep food preservatives from pickling us as well?

But the largest issue of all from pop is not preservatives or food coloring, it is sugar and sweeteners.  What health disasters the sugar doesn't heap on you, the artificial sweeteners will pour on your fragile brain cells.  I may be mistaken in the exact numbers because the info blip popped past me at blinding speed on the television this past week, but the point is clear -- I think it said cutting 1 pop out of your diet a day will reduce your weight 15 pounds in a year.  Why not eliminate it altogether?  It will do your body good!

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