Chemicals in Your Soda: What They Are and What They Do

Soda lovers beware: there are many hidden chemicals in your soft drink that just might shock you
Sometimes the chemicals that are in your soda aren’t even listed on the label.

While the general public might be aware that there are food colorings and acidic components in soda, there are many other dangerous and questionable chemicals being listed on labels today. By far, one of the worst offenders in sodas and fizzy drinks on the market is 4-methylimidazole (4-mel for short) which is known for adding the caramel coloring in most sodas like Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and the like. This chemical is suspected to produce many types of cancer like lung, liver, and leukemia.

Chemicals in Your Soda: What They Are and What They Do (Slideshow)

Other chemicals like brominated vegetable oil (BVO) are included in sodas to keep the artificial flavors and the rest of the soda from separating. While it might do its job, it’s also linked to health issues such as memory loss, nerve disorders, and skin conditions.

Chemicals are not just in our drinks, they’re in our food too. Today, a huge scare sweeping the nation is something fondly known as the “yoga mat chemical,” that has been creeping into our food supply. Azodicarbonamide is regularly used in plastic and rubber products like the yoga mat, but it’s also being utilized in breads, bagels, pizza, and pastries among others.

It’s important for consumers to read the labels on their soft drinks so they are aware of what they’re ingesting, but sometimes the chemicals aren’t even listed on the label. Ethyl butyrate is a chemical that produces an aroma of juices and fruits. It’s often used in orange juice, but isn’t always front and center on a label.

Also found in sodas are a number of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame potassium. These can be found in sweeteners on the market today like NutraSweet, Equal and Spoonful. These dangerous compounds are often put into diet sodas to enhance flavor. But beware, artificial sweeteners often cause weight gain in their consumers.

Take a look at our list of the worst offenders that are found in most soft drinks on the market today, what they are, and what they do.

4-Methylimidazole (4-MeI)

4-Mel is a chemical found in sodas that produces a caramel coloring. World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer along with the state of California, which now limits manufacturers to 29 micrograms of exposure for the average consumer per day, believes the chemical causes cancer. Large amounts of 4-Mel caused lung, liver, and thyroid cancer as well as leukemia in studies performed on rats. Sodas that contain 4-Mel include Malta Goya, Pepsi One, Diet Coke, Coke, and Coke Zero.

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)

BVO is in many types of beverages. The chemical is supposed to keep the artificial flavors and the rest of your soda from separating. BVO is linked directly to memory loss, nerve disorders and skin conditions. It’s most commonly found in beverages such as Fanta, Mountain Dew and Gatorade. One of the main components in BVO is bromine, the same element found in brominated flame retardants. 

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