Caramel Coloring Sounds Sweet, But It’s Not – It’s A Carcinogenic Food Additive

Goodbye, my beloved Coke Zero. *sigh* At one time, I’m ashamed to admit, I was drinking up to six of those bad boys a day.  I soon heard that the artificial sweeteners weren’t helping me lose weight because they supposedly cause you to crave more carbs.  Okay, I can deal with that.  But when I learned what another common soda additive can do to my body, my Coke smile turned into more of a Coke jaw-drop (which is quite unflattering on me).

“In contrast to the caramel one might make at home by melting sugar in a saucepan, the artificial brown coloring in colas and some other products is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures. Chemical reactions result in the formation of 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole, which in government-conducted studies caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukemia in laboratory mice or rats.”

I cant tell you how many “all natural”-labelled products contained this caramel coloring at the “healthy” store today, wow. The companies should NOT be allowed to label that way (See Artificially Rose-Colored Glasses for more on sneaky marketing).

“Federal regulations distinguish among four types of caramel coloring, two of which are produced with ammonia and two without it. CSPI wants the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the two made with ammonia. The type used in colas and other dark soft drinks is known as Caramel IV, or ammonia sulfite process caramel. Caramel III, which is produced with ammonia but not sulfites, is sometimes used in beer, soy sauce, and other foods.”

Colas have the higher ratio of caramel coloring. Here is a breakdown of cola ingredients, from

Poison tonic, Slime Soda, and Witch's Brew, indeed.

Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine…


“Let’s remind ourselves –
The amount of sugar in a cup is 7 teaspoons.  Many people drink multiple servings per day.
Most soft drinks use high fructose corn syrup, whose effects on metabolism scientists are still arguing over.
Phosphoric acid leaches calcium from bones, among other things.
And now we learn that the caramel coloring used is carcinogenic.”

Read your labels (See Colorful Language for help with additive labeling)! Even so-called “natural” sodas contain caramel coloring.  Avoid artificial colors and flavors, and make your own flavored drinks with dye-free flavor packets such as Hanson’s.  These are life savers for us when eating out at a restaurant that only offers dyed lemonade or soda on the kids menu.  If you’ve found some great tasting additive-free sodas, please do tell.

2 Responses to “Caramel Coloring Sounds Sweet, But It’s Not – It’s A Carcinogenic Food Additive”
  1. Do you let your kids drink Sprite?

    • Indie Mama says:

      She’s tried Sprite a couple of times when she had a stomach ache. We usually avoid soda now because of my addiction to Coke Zero and because I’m hoping to influence her towards an attitude of “soda is a Sometimes Treat”…but we did try an apple soda at IKEA this week. 😉

Copyright © 2011 - Rebecca Evans and Die, Food Dye! All rights reserved.
Tips and recipes to reduce food waste - Love Food Hate Waste

Verified By SiteLock

website security