Getty Images/Flickr RF

Hey, I got this reason why drinking soda is bad for you—where, amidst this huge pile of other reasons why soda is terrible for you, shall I put it? Next to the diabetes or on top of the gum disease?

In the latest horrifying discovery, researchers found that the caramel color used in sodas is potentially carcinogenic. That’s right. The most superficial aspect of soda (aside from celebrity endorsements) can also kill you, according to research led by the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Advertisement

When certain kinds of caramel color are manufactured, they produce a substance called 4-methylimidazole (or 4-MEI), which is potentially carcinogenic. Complicating things, the amount of 4-MEI in drinks really varies—two cans of the same soda may show different levels. For example, samples from soda sold in California showed lower levels of 4MEI than samples from other states. And the FDA has no limit on the amount of 4-MEI in food or drinks, although some concerned citizens have petitioned for such a restriction.

Senior author of the study Keeve Nachman highlighted the ridiculous hazard of making soda brown, saying, “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.”

If only American consumers would support color-less soda in the same way they rally around caramel varieties. Pretty sure the soda industry already attempted to go clear with Crystal Pepsi, and not even the indomitable wonder that is Van Halen could save it.