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Does Soda Mess With Your DNA?

All of you soda drinkers might want to pay attention to this one. A new study from Britain's Sheffield University is linking sodium benzoate, a preservative found in some sodas, to cell damage. Research is suggesting that the preservative has the ability to switch vital parts of DNA.

Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria.

He told The Independent on Sunday: "These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether."

It can be identified in soft drinks by the phrase "sodium benzoate" or E211. Oh and in case you were wondering, it is also used in fireworks as a powder that makes the whistling noises.

This is not the first time sodium benzoate has found its way into the spotlight. In March of 2006, the Food & Drug Administration was said to be running tests on whether or not combined with ascorbic acid, heat and light, it forms benzene, a known carcinogen.

Source: The Independent via Boing Boing

Join The Conversation
saffy1227 saffy1227 10 years
scary, but I like to drink ice tea.
Jennifer_2sugar Jennifer_2sugar 10 years
That is strange!
Gurla Gurla 10 years
Me again - I wanted to respond to a few comments and thank folks for caring about this topic! I think the proliferation of food additives and preservatives are making many people very sick in many different ways. I eat only organic food now b/c I was SO sick all the time w/ digestive, cognitive, skin and metabolic problems. Yuk. For food to be labelled Organic it must follow several basic principles - primary to me is that it can not contain additives, preservatives or GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms). I take home less than $25K a year. After rent, medical expenses and gas I don't have a lot left over. It takes time and patience to add healthy organic food to ones diet. Here are some tips for how to eat Organic on the Cheap(er): Buy in bulk - grains, dried beans, pasta, cooking oils, soy sauce, cheese and tortillas Add organic eggs to your diet - they are healthy for you & cheep! :) Eat 5 fruits and 5 vegetables a day - Filling and nutritious A vegetarian or mostly veggie lifestyle is cheap, healthy and EASY Avoid foods with: MSG, Natural Flavor (hidden MSG), Artificial Flavor, Sodium Nitrates & Nitrite, Sodium Benzoate, EDTA, PGPR, TBHQ, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (a flame retardant that protects food manufacturers from liability) and Disodium Phosphate etc. Read ALL your food labels - if you can't SAY it, DON'T eat it! And I am sorry to say there is NO fast food that does NOT contain additives and preservatives. Even McDonald's & Wendy's sugar-free iced tea contains sodium benzoate - trust me, the migraine never lies...
Neural Neural 10 years
*thinking of all the diet coke I've drank over the years* Yep, I've probably pretty much ruined my body!
nessabum nessabum 10 years
does that stuff come in nestea too? or is it just with fizzy drinks?
serena serena 10 years
this is really, really awful, but I can't say i'm suprised... anything to make $$, right? even if it kills people. so sad...
bobcatsteph3 bobcatsteph3 10 years
Mitochondria are the ENGINES of our cells, and this is some seriously scary research because I happen to have a form of muscular dystrophy known as Mitochondrial Myopathy. The funny thing, or perhaps not funny at all thing, is that my DNA has mutations on it that medical research has not seen yet. I also get the poster who gets migraines, I get abdominal migraines from many a food and have cut as much sugar out of my diet as possible. Along with a whole host of other preservaties and really stay on top of where my food comes from. To all those people who think this is all b.s. I wish you a very healthy future, but for some of us unlucky ones, this isn't b.s. at all, but extremely scary, and extremely cruel.
BKNYGal BKNYGal 10 years
It's very true. Wake up people and start eating healthier. Too bad the healthy food is so much more expensive. The FDA approves something one day saying it's safe..then come to find out it can kill you. Hmm..wonder what causes cancer psoriasis and all those other diseases?? It's the garbage food we eat with all the chemicals in it. Of course the gov't won't agree to it. Must keep everyone calm and go with the flow.
krisua krisua 10 years
Can this be really TRUE???
Hope5 Hope5 10 years
I've never heard of this before!
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 10 years
Wow!!
Gurla Gurla 10 years
Three years ago I realized I was getting migraines immediately after drinking soda's like Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi or Dr Pepper. So I stopped drinking all soda! Well, I kept getting occassional migraines and finally linked it to sodium benzoate in foods - condiments, fruit spreads, juices etc. No sodium benzoate, no migraine. When I eat sodium benzoate I become very ill - and the effects last for days. It feels like a very evil "hangover" I tell everyone I know about my experinces with these and other food additives (ie preservatives) and nearly all the people I speak with begin to realize they too are having ill effects from these ingredients! It's important to remember food manufacturers put these perservatives in food to protect THEMSELVES not consumers. They add these subtances to lengthen food shelf life. They seem marginally concerned about the health effects on consumers. So rather than call this and other food safety reporting sensationalistic or alarmist, I credit the author and researchers for daring to go against multi billion dollar food industries! Remember, these soda manufaturers want everyone on earth to drink their soda or water or juice. Pepsi and Coke seriously want to replace water as a beverage of choice! And they are making pretty good headway on this pursuit!
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
This is a bunch of horsesh!t.
mollipop mollipop 10 years
This is interesting but I'll wait to see if more studies come out with similar conclusions before cutting out soda completely.
Sassette Sassette 10 years
If only that meant my Pepsi addiction would give me superpowers!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
the guy's name is Peter Piper? Was he picking pickled peppers while doing this research? I'll have to read this more in-depth b/c my biology knowledge went out the door after I finished that class freshman year of college (5 years ago). I can't remember what function mitochondria has for us or what damaging it will do to us.
blonde666 blonde666 10 years
wow. That was pretty disturbing to read, especially after my Diet Dr. Pepper binger this weekend.
jhuck jhuck 10 years
Funny, my friend posted something about this on his facebook page last week. He also linked to the following page that says that Coke is eliminating it from their beverages. http://lighterfootstep.com/coca-cola-agrees-to-take-carcinogenic-benzene-out-of-soda.html
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