If you need another reason to ditch colas for good, both diet and regular, keep reading. Caramel color is a common ingredient in dark colored sodas and past studies have shown that many can contain significant levels of a caramel color byproduct called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI). 4-MEI has been shown to boost cancer risk in laboratory animals and may also be a human carcinogen. In a new report by researchers at John’s Hopkins University that analyzed soda consumption data, the scientists determined that many Americans are being exposed to significant levels of this potential cancer-causing agent. According to the lead researcher of the study, “Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes.” (PLOS ONE, 2015 10(2)))
I consider both diet and regular sodas a science experiment in a bottle and encourage you to stop drinking them.