Fresca is a popular brand of a citrus flavor diet soda that many people enjoy. But is Fresca bad for you?
- 1 Is Fresca Bad For You?
- 2 What Does Fresca Contain?
- 2.1 What Do You Need to Know About Aspartame?
- 2.2 What Do You Need to Know About Acesulfame Potassium?
- 2.3 What Do You Need to Know About Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)?
- 2.4 What Do You Need to Know About Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA)?
- 2.5 The Effects of Citric Acid
- 2.6 Possible Long-term Effects of Fresca
- 2.7 Information on Brain Tumors
- 2.8 Fresca is Best Avoided
Is Fresca Bad For You?
Unfortunately, yes it is bad for you. It contains a number of problematic ingredients. If you drink Fresca, it should be only occasionally and in moderation.
What Does Fresca Contain?
Fresca has a number of potentially harmful ingredients. These include aspartame, EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), brominated vegetable oil (BVO), and acesulfame potassium. Citric acid, another ingredient, is also problematic when consumed in large quantities.
What Do You Need to Know About Aspartame?
Aspartame is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners. Although, it has been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and other governmental bodies around the world, some researchers and other groups contend that it is or could cause significant harm to health when consumed in large quantities and over the long term.
Consumed aspartame becomes formaldehyde in the human body when it breaks down after consumption. It is believed by some that excessive consumption of aspartame could possibly cause problems such as:
- Increased risk of the development of brain tumors
- Muscle spasms
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Neurological symptoms
What Do You Need to Know About Acesulfame Potassium?
Acesulfame potassium is another artificial sweetener. It has been proven to increase the risk of developing cancer.
What Do You Need to Know About Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)?
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is an additive used in Fresca (and a few other sodas, such as Mountain Dew). In the past, brominated vegetable oil was also present in other sodas but its negative health effects have led to it being removed from the recipes of most products.
Brominated vegetable oil is made by bonding vegetable oil to bromine, an element. This is done because of the heaviness of bromine: it prevents oil from acting as it would naturally and floating all the way to the top of solutions that are water-based (such as soda drinks).
The reason why brominated vegetable oil is used in drinks that have a citrus flavor (such as Fresca) is that citrus flavors have an oily texture.
This means that they naturally tend to float to the top of the liquid rather than remain dispersed throughout. In preventing this, brominated vegetable oil acts as an emulsifier, and keeps the product stable. It also gives the product its “cloudy” or hazy look.
BVO is known to have corrosive characteristics. Some of the possible effects of BVO include:
- An increased risk of cancer
- Disrupted thyroid function
- Fertility problems
- Disruption of children’s brain development
- Swelling of the hands
It was first discovered that when consumed in large quantities brominated vegetable oil could have negative effects on health, in 1997. A man who sought help in an emergency room for mysterious symptoms was discovered to be consuming between two and four liters of a soda with brominated vegetable oil on a daily basis.
He had serious problems with muscle coordination and memory, fatigue, and headaches. He eventually became unable to walk. It was found that his blood contained extremely high levels of bromide. The man ended up needing to undergo dialysis treatment.
What Do You Need to Know About Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA)?
EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid) is a preservative. It is included in Fresca to preserve the color of the product. You should be aware that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the United States has put this chemical on a special watch list of products that need to be reviewed and tested again for toxicity.
EDTA can cause a number of short-term health effects, such as migraine, asthma, and skin rash. It is believed that EDTA can accumulate in the body over time.
The Effects of Citric Acid
While citric acid is naturally present in many foods and drinks, you should limit its consumption to a reasonable level. Too much citric acid on a regular basis can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel.
Possible Long-term Effects of Fresca
Potential long-term side effects of excessive Fresca consumption include:
- Erosion of tooth enamel
- Skin rash
- Development of tumors
- Disruption of thyroid function
- Fertility problems
Other possible effects are those listed in the aspartame and other ingredient sections of this article.
Information on Brain Tumors
Earlier on, we mentioned that excessive long-term intake of aspartame is believed by some to increase the risk of the development of brain tumors.
Brain tumors can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign brain tumors tend to grow slowly, and after treatment they have a lower likelihood of returning. Malignant (cancerous) brain tumors, however, are more likely than benign tumors to come back after treatment. Also, malignant (cancerous) tumors are, of course, intrinsically dangerous and possibly fatal.
Symptoms of a brain tumor can include:
- Problems with vision or speech
- Behavioral or mental changes (including, for example, changes in personality or problems with memory)
- Drowsiness, vomiting, and/or persistent nausea
- Fits (seizures)
- Persistent and severe headaches
- Paralysis on one side of the body, or weakness that becomes progressively worse
The following people are generally at greater risk of developing a brain tumor:
- People who have a family history of brain tumors, or a genetic condition that may lead to this problem.
- Older people, as brain tumor risk tends to increase with age
- People who have already suffered from another form of cancer (for example, adults who have had leukaemia)
- People who have HIV or AIDS
- People who have been exposed to large amounts of radiation
If you think that you might have a brain tumor, it is essential that you seek medical evaluation as quickly as possible.
Fresca is Best Avoided
While you can have Fresca as a very occasional treat, it is definitely not something that should be mindlessly consumed in large quantities. This drink contains several ingredients that could be damaging to your health.
Choose healthier alternatives instead, such as sparkling water, soda water, and naturally sweetened juice. And always remember that the healthiest drink you can possibly find is plain water.
“3 Shocking Health Threats In Your Food” http://www.doctoroz.com/article/3-shocking-health-threats-your-food
“The Top 38 Diet Sodas—Ranked!” http://www.eatthis.com/diet-sodas-ranked/
“The Truth About Aspartame”, https://www.healthline.com/health/aspartame-side-effects#side-effects5
“Brain tumours”, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/brain-tumours/pages/introduction.aspx
“Brominated Vegetable Oil”, https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20130129/brominated-vegetable-oil-qa#1
“Brominated vegetable oil may have adverse health effects”, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/brominated-vegetable-oil-may-have-adverse-health-effects-dietitian-1.2783731