Coca Cola has been at the center of controversy ever since the fizzy drink first graced the shelves. Myths and rumors are abound about the ingredients used to make Coke. While some of this is either unproven, or blown out of proportion, many of these stories are quite true, and quite disturbing. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most controversial ingredients/contaminants found in Coca-Cola and analyze what scientific studies reveal. This is not so much to scare you into pouring all of your Coke down the toilet, but more to encourage you to inform yourself about what you are drinking.
Aspartame is a low-calorie artificial sweetener, about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is added to weight control products, soft drinks, yogurt, cereal, chewing gum, cooking sauces, desserts, sweets, etc.
Of course, just because its popular, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Diet Coke contains about 180 milligrams of aspartame per 8.3-ounce serving. The bitter truth is that weight control products ruin the body’s ability to count calories. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, when combined with said diet product, mess up the brain’s chemistry and stimulate appetite. Result: more eating, and more weight gain.
In addition, the Ramazzini Foundation released a three-year study confirming the link between aspartame and leukemia. The researchers have concluded that even a low dose (20 milligrams of aspartame per kilogram of body weight) increases the development of lymphomas, leukemia, and uritogenital tumors in rats. By the way, 50 milligrams per kilo represents the current daily acceptable dose of aspartame.
Board-certified neurologists, prominent geneticists, cardiologists, biochemists, histologists and toxicologists from different corners of the world have all drawn the same conclusion: aspartame is an addictive carcinogenic neurotoxin and teratogen, and while it may be a great biochemical warfare agent, as previously classified by the Pentagon, it should certainly be kept out of our Coke. And anything else we consume, really.
2. Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A (BPA) is described as a gender-bending chemical because it mimics estrogen, binding to the same receptors in a body as natural female hormones do. Bisphenol A is also used to make polycarbonate plastics and line tin cans. And yes, it’s in Coke.
Canada became the first jurisdiction in the world to declare BPA a toxic substance and the French Senate unanimously decided to suspend from January 2015 the manufacture, import and export of all food and beverage containers which include the synthetic hormone.
The World Health Organization said there was “very strong evidence” in animals that endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA can interfere with thyroid hormones. This dangerous interaction could cause brain damage, autism, decrease intelligence and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In addition, various studies have linked BPA exposure to obesity, neurological issues, breast cancer, prostate cancer, DNA methylation, reproductive system malfunctions, and birth defects.
Coca-Cola is under a lot of pressure to do something about this, after 26% of its shareholders demanded more information on how the company is addressing the risk of BPA. Thus far, they’ve rejected the call.
3. 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI)
4-methylimidazole is a byproduct that occurs in caramel coloring, and may also be formed in the cooking, roasting, broiling, grilling or other processing of some foods and beverages. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has identified the carcinogenic 2-and 4-methylimidazole as undesirable byproducts in many foods, and no limits are currently set on the quantities of caramel coloring used in foods and beverages.
The roughly 130 mg of 4-methylimidazole in a 12-ounce cola is four times higher than the NSRL-recommended limits. Coca-Cola has agreed to change, in some states anyway, the manufacturing process. Mainly because not doing so would have forced them to put a cancer warning on the label, and nobody needs that kind of publicity.
It is, quite frankly, disturbing how companies get away with marketing caramel-colored products as natural. From the legal point of view, the International Food and Agriculture Organization’s Codex Alimentarius does not have a standard for natural foods because it does not recognize the term natural (probably because literally anything can be deemed something as vague as “natural.”) Perhaps it’s time to crack down on this.