Cancer-Causing Ingredients Found in Soda: Is Anyone Really Surprised?
Earlier this week, I heard on the radio that a caramel-coloring agent used in sodas has been found to be a possible cancer-causing substance. Lab studies on animals have now revealed that the caramel color can cause leukemia as well as liver, lung, and thyroid cancers. This was based on an article submitted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest on February 16, 2011.
I have long held that the major health problems in our country - heart disease, cancer, stroke - are primarily caused by the foods we consume. Of course, there are genetics and environmental factors to consider...but what we ingest and our body's ability to process it are, in my mind, directly related to the major health issues we face today.
My question is: Why are substances like this not researched prior to their inclusion in products that go to market? Any chemical that is included in a "food" to be released to the general public should be researched diligently for its effect on the functioning of the human body. Shouldn't it? And yet, time and again we learn that a substance is toxic. Saccharin, partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils, food dyes - all known to cause health problems - are just a few examples of chemicals that we have been allowed to ingest over the years. (Did you know that the yellow dyes in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese are suspected to cause hyperactivity in children? Yet, there they are on the list of ingredients. And I have no facts to stand on, but I believe diet soda is the worst product a person can consume.)
Well, I know the short answers: Time and money. A company wants to get its product to market, limited studies show no danger, and another chemical-laden, convenience food hits the shelves.
But I'm all for proactive. If synthetic substances were researched in-depth prior to use, maybe we'd see an improvement in our health. Maybe, instead of putting so much time and money into treating cancer, heart disease, and other major illnesses, we'd just be able to prevent them. What an impact that would have on national health-care costs.
But I'm also all for self-responsibility. I believe that the government can only protect me to some degree; it is my responsibility to get informed and make decisions about what I put into my body. And so, I will continue to read food labels and use strange-named substances (aspartame - what exactly is that?) with caution. But that's just me. I'm intelligent and informed. What of the average American? That is who I worry about when this type of study is released.
Call to action: And so, I submit a call to action to the FDA. Put in place stricter measures to protect the average American citizen from consuming substances that will make them ill. Do that, and watch the health issues in our country decline. I challenge you.
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Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador
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