Too Much Soda May Pose Cancer Risk

Too Much Soda May Pose Cancer RiskToo Much Soda May Pose Cancer Risk

Soda could cause cancer if a new investigation pointing out the risk is confirmed by further studies.

Consumer Reports announced a study showing that average Americans consume enough soda to put themselves at risk of cancer from the sugary beverages.

Caramel color is used by soda manufacturers to create a brown color in colas and other products. However, some varieties of this ingredient contain a possible carcinogen known as 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel).

Researchers tested 110 samples of sodas, finding concentrations of 4-Mel varied widely between brands. Just one can of some varieties were found to contain ten times the amount allowed per day without a warning, under California law.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (Nhanes), covering seven years, was used to measure how much soda Americans consume. The study showed that more than half of Americans, aged six to 64, drink soda on a daily basis, most of whom take in between one and 2.5 cans a day. The age group with the greatest soda consumption was 16 and 44 years, some of whom drank three cans a day. Roughly one-third of children in the US drink soda on a daily basis, averaging eight ounces a day, the survey revealed.

These numbers suggest that between 76 and 5,000 cases of cancer could be caused by 4-Mel in caramel coloring, the study concluded.

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) researchers participated in developing the new study.


Consumer Reports released their study to the California government, and sent a notice to the Federal government, recommending labeling of the chemical.

Around 25 percent of the chemical entering Americans diets come from soda, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“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,” Keeve Nachman from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said.

Study of 4-Methylimidazole in soda and the possible cancer risks the chemical could pose were detailed in the journal Plos One.