Caramel Colouring in Soda May Increase Your Cancer Risk - Study

This may be a good reason to quit that soda habit for good. A recent study has shown that soda raises cancer risk due to its caramel colouring.


Drinking sodas such as cola which contains caramel color may increase the risk of cancer, due to the chemical process during the manufacture of the caramel coloring. This process produces a carcinogen known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), as suggested by an analysis from Consumer Reports.
Caramel color is one of the most widely used food coloring’s made by heat treatment of carbohydrates in the presence of acids, alkalis, or salts, in a process called caramelization. It is widely approved for use in foods and beverages globally, but its application level restrictions vary by country. Manufacturers add the food coloring for aesthetic purposes.


The study is published in PLOS One, with researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, conducted a test on 110 samples of cola and other soft drink beverages. All of the samples, with the exception of the clear beverages, contained 3.4 to 352.5 micrograms of 4-Mel per 12-ounce can or bottle.
There are no Federal Regulations on how much of the chemical, manufacturers can put in drinks. But manufacturers in California, are required to include a cancer warning label if the beverage contains more than 29 micrograms in a 12-ounce can or bottle.
The average person age 6-64, drank as much as two and a half cans of cola per day. Approximately 1/3 of children between ages 3-5 drank two-thirds of a can each day. People between age 16-44 were the most frequent cola drinkers, consuming aprroximately three cans or more per day.


The researchers have concluded, through the analysis that within the next years, there could be approximately 5,000 incidences of cancer cases directly related to the consumption of cola.
But cracking down on the soft drink industry will not completely eliminate this chemical from consumer’s diet. Unfortunately, this dark-colored carbonated drinks are not the only source of 4-Mel. The chemical is also used in barbecue sauces, soy, some soups and pancake syrup.

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