June 13, 2024


Cooking Is My World

Soft Drink Alert: Dangers of Benzene

Losing weight is a real major health concern for at least two-thirds of the American population. Many adults and children drink themselves into being overweight or obesity. Beyond those nutritionally empty calories that soft drinks have and the number one source of calories in a typical American diet, a long known about threat in soft drinks, benzene, has health officials concerned again.

Benzene is a known human carcinogen (cancer causing agent) that has been linked to leukemia. It can form in soft drinks that contain both vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and either or, sodium benzoate, or potassium benzoate. Many soft drinks use sodium benzoate to stop bacteria growth and spoilage. Vitamin C can be present because the manufacturer added it or it can occur naturally from fruit concentrates used in the beverage. Soft drink manufacturers do not add benzene to the drinks directly, rather the compound is formed by a reaction to (ascorbic acid) and the preservatives that are added to the drink, in the presence of heat and light.

Believe it or not the FDA has known about this carcinogen threat for over fifteen years, and let the soft drink industry to voluntarily police themselves on how to best lower the benzene levels in their soft drinks. Presently the FDA is still hiding benzene data that they feel would be “confusing” to the consumers of soft drinks. I wonder if they think people will be “confused” as to why the FDA did not blow the whistle on this threat a decade and a half ago?

Because children may be especially sensitive to benzene, as their bone marrow cells are highly active, all soft drinks should be eliminated in schools immediately until they can be proven safe and free of all their harmful effects.

Being overweight or obese is just the first stage for many, of life long battles with so many other related ill health issues. Drinking yourself into a state of disease is a physical choice that you can have control over! If you are a parent, you can be the most important role model for your children. Surveys have found that parents are more of an influence on how their children eat and drink, than their peers.

While making the decision to eat more healthier foods is a wonderful thing, people are seriously underestimating the most powerful disease control weapon in their diet is in choosing more wisely on what to drink, and what to avoid.

Your body substance is made up mostly of 75% water. As a safe thirst quencher, water is hard to beat! Shelf-stable juices and single serve milks can be added as some healthy alternatives to break up the daily routine of consuming water. Try adding a squirt of real lemon or lime juice to water for an added citrus flavor.

From my perspective one of the most important and easiest changes you can make to improve your health, is to eliminate soft drinks from your daily diet. While an occasional soda is not going to harm anyone, daily consumption of them is simply a disease just waiting to happen.