Soft drinks may damage children's DNA?

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health

In my house, we don't drink a lot of soft drinks. I've just never really liked them much and rarely buy them when I grocery shop. Ellie might order a Sprite if we go out to dinner, but even that is rare. I don't want her drinking soda mostly because of the sugar and the complete lack of nutritional value. But, a new study has uncovered another reason you might want to consider limiting the sodas.

According to new research, too many soft drinks might actually cause cell damage in children. Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology at a British university, says that sodium benzoate, a common preservative used in carbonated drinks, causes damage to the DNA in the cells known as the mitochondria.

He explains, "The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number of diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of aging."

The World Health Organization declared in 2000 that sodium benzoate was safe, but did note that the science supporting that finding was "limited.". Professor Piper says that the testing done by the US Food and Drug Administration is out of date and that more rigorous testing can and should be conducted now. In response to these findings, European Union MPs are now calling for an urgent investigation.

While sodium benzoate occurs naturally in some foods, such as berries, it is used in much larger quantities in soft drinks. Piper is concerned about children who drink large amounts of soda and advises parents to think twice about buying products containing this preservative.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.