Published On: Sat, Dec 31st, 2011

Flame retardants only a soft drink away

Flame retardants

only a soft drink away

 Julian Georgiou, Healingtalks Contributing Writer

(Healingtalks) Turning a product around to read the ingredients is a smart practice. In the case of soft drink, besides the high caloric content or high sugar intake, there is another substance to beware of and add to our ‘avoid list.’ About 10% of all soft drinks in the US contain a substance patented as a flame retardant and banned throughout Europe and in Japan as a food ingredient. This apparently “cost efficient” ingredient is called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), an emulsifier that recent research suggests is unsafe for consumption in even small quantities.

Which drinks contain BVO and why

Mountain Dew, Fanta Orange, and Squirt, along with Gatorade and Powerade, among fruit-flavored beverages, contain brominated vegetable oil (BVO) (Green, 2011). According to CocoCola’s ingredients glossary the flame retardant “stabilizers help to prevent the citrus flavoring oils from floating to the surface in beverages”.

For the looks

LuAnn White, director at the Center for Applied Environmental Health at Tulane University states that “U.S. consumers have a long history of wanting their food to look a certain way, so additional dyes, chemicals and preservatives are used in our food to maintain a certain look (Conley, 2012). This practice is moving people further and further away from foods with natural origins. We are fed less o organic food ingredients by manufacturing who also promote addictive taste sensations, and even if the consumer eventually suffers deadly health consequences.

Past & present BVO research and politics

Brominated vegetable oil is derived from soybean or corn and contains bromine atoms. BVO was removed from the FDA’s “Generally Recognized as Safe List” for flavor additives in 1970. The Flavor Extract Manufacturers’ Association subsequently petitioned to get BVO re-approved, and this time as a stabilizer rather than a flavor additive. The submission of industry-generated studies showed that BVO was supposedly harmless and when present in soft drinks within “safe limits” (Green, 2011)

However 30 years later, re-examining the status of BVO, the FDA unfortunately claimed it “is not a public health priority for the agency at this time” (Israel, 2011).

Examples of BVO health impacts

After extreme soda binges, and as symptoms of overexposure to BVO, health professional have noted the following:

  • Individuals have shown skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders.
  • Studies suggest that BVO may be accumulating progressively in human tissues
  • It may find its way into breast milk.
  • In mouse studies, big doses caused reproductive and behavioral problems (Israel, 2011).
  • Both animal research and human studies of bromine have demonstrated its toxicity, finding links to lowered fertility
  • Early puberty onset and impaired neurological development have also been noted for children.

The art of an unbalanced diet

The food economy is geared to making billions by selling the most highly processed (nutritionally-stripped) and addictive (sugary) foods – creating not only an epidemics of obesity and diabetes, plus also the four A’s – asthma, autism, allergies, and attention deficit ills.

Stark evidence for soft drinks being implicated includes the following:

  • 85 % of kids drink a beverage with sugar and/or artificial sweetener at least once a week in the US.
  • Sodas are the largest source of calories for teenagers between the ages of 14 to 18.
  • For adults, soda, energy and sports drinks are the fourth largest source of calories, a federal study found (Israel, 2011).
  • They have penetrated our school systems with automatic soda pop and junk candy machines.
  • Now about 30 per cent of children and teens suffer from the four A’s.

Add to those statistics the impacts of obesity and diabetes, and guess what?

The end result is that nearly 50% of all children and teens in the US are chronically ill  (HealingTalks).

Avoiding soda

BVO used as a food ingredient is another reason, in a long list, to avoid drinking soda. This is in addition to the high-fructose corn syrup content of “regular” sodas or the aspartame in diet drinks – both of which bring a host of health risks (Green, 2011).

Turning to fresh juices for real energy

We would recommend taking up something entirely different, the integrally healthy habit of drinking freshly-made, unpasteurized and organic juices which provide real life energy to fulfill our body’s needs and to remain healthy and strong. If you drink the juices within 20-30 minutes of making they will provide the greatest life-energy boost. Otherwise we recommend storing the juice in air-tight containers for up to a day and with an anti-oxidant  like Vitamin C added.

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References

Keywords

Brominated vegetable oil, drinking soft drinks, sugar in beverages,  diet drinks, sports drinks, soda water, soft drinks, sport drink, drinks and juices, diet soft drink

 

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