Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Concerned about the health risk of soda?

Date:
January 29, 2014
Source:
Society of Toxicology
Summary:
Toxicological insight into the science behind a recent report highlighting levels of a potential carcinogen in carbonated beverages. Scientists analyzed the data to identify whether or not the carcinogen poses a health risk for humans.

Last week, Consumer Reports released a study on the levels of a caramel coloring agent known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) in many popular, carbonated beverages. The report used phrases such as "health risk" and "potential carcinogen," leaving many wondering whether their favorite sodas should be discarded because of a cancer risk. This is a question that toxicologists can help answer.

"Our work as toxicologists is to help conduct and interpret the findings of a variety of studies that evaluate the potential hazard of natural products, environmental chemicals, and drugs to provide people with the information necessary to make informed, personal decisions," says Lois D. Lehman-McKeeman, PhD, ATS, 2013-2014 President of the Society of Toxicology.

There have been many toxicological studies of 4-MEI over the years, but focusing on the study conducted by the National Toxicology Program cited in the Consumer Reports article, there are some significant details of how the study was conducted that are important toxicologically and for understanding the results.

  • 4-MEI was administered to both mice and rats over their two-year lives through their food, so the exposure to the chemical was oral or the same as exposure would be in humans by drinking carbonated beverages.
  • Different levels, or doses, of 4-MEI were tested. A basic tenant of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison. The level at which exposure occurs is crucial to understanding if a chemical poses a risk to health. Likewise, the greater the dose, the greater or more likely the adverse affect.

The rats in the study exposed to only the highest doses of 4-MEI (not the minimal or moderate doses) experienced a higher incidence of leukemia than the control group. The mice, though, showed no such result. In contrast, in mice exposed to the highest doses of 4-MEI, increased rates of lung tumors were observed. Again, the rats showed no such result. The conclusion is that 4-MEI in high doses is potentially carcinogenic for mice and rats, but in different ways. This study is a clear reminder that all animal species, including humans, respond diversely to specific chemicals, especially at doses that are so high that they may change normal physiological processes.

"Data showing effects in animal models are useful because these findings may indicate that further studies are necessary to confirm that the agent may affect humans, but caution is always encouraged when trying to extrapolate results across species," says Dr. Lehman-McKeeman. "The Society of Toxicology hopes that by illuminating the scientific details of studies into MEI-4, people feel better informed and more confident to make decisions regarding their consumption of soft drinks.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/01/caramel-color-the-health-risk-that-may-be-in-your-soda/index.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society of Toxicology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society of Toxicology. "Concerned about the health risk of soda?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129184606.htm>.
Society of Toxicology. (2014, January 29). Concerned about the health risk of soda?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129184606.htm
Society of Toxicology. "Concerned about the health risk of soda?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129184606.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins