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Cola Not as Bad as You Thought


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I don’t remember the last time that I saw somebody buy a soda without me judging them. Over the years, I’ve heard so many different reasons why not to drink soda: the sugar will rot your teeth, the chemicals in the food coloring are poisonous, and most particularly in relation to diet sodas, that the artificial sweetener will give you cancer.

However, even the recent findings of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) were quickly denounced. The CSPI argued that the amount of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, present in Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and their diet versions caused cancer in lab rats ad mice. 4-MI is a byproduct of the reaction that produces the caramel color of the drinks. Since these findings, the state of California has listed 4-MI as a carcinogen; any food or beverage containing enough of it that could cause cancer in as few as 1 in 100,000 people is illegal to sell.

The FDA was quick to denounce the notion that the amount of 4-MI present in cola would not be a threat to consumers’ health. Additionally, a biochemist from Vanderbilt University said that for a person’s cancer risk to increase from drinking cola, one would have to drink 1000 cans per day.

Nevertheless, drinking soda is still linked to higher instances of obesity and diabetes. So go easy with it.


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About Jessica Levenson


Jessica is currently a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in religion, and actively involved in Jewish life on campus. She is from West Orange, NJ and attended Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School. Jess aspires to one day be a chef in Israel.

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