Consumer Reports finds soda contains too much carcinogenic chemical without warning labels

The chemical 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MeI, is often used in sodas, where it appears on ingredients labels as “caramel coloring.” But studies have shown that this chemical used in many dark-colored beverages can cause cancer, leading the state of California to limit manufacturers to 29 micrograms of exposure to the compound per day for the average consumer. Companies that fail to comply with this rule will have to label their products, “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.” In response, soda manufacturers, such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have reformulated their products sold in California to reduce the amount of the chemical used.

However, as Consumer Reports recently found, still not all sodas comply with the California regulation. Researchers for the magazine tested 29 beverages in California and New York that had exceeded 29 mcg of 4-MeI in prior tests performed earlier in 2013. They found that most of the drinks had their amounts of caramel color significantly reduced, but Pepsi One and Malta Goya still exceeded the limit, and neither of them carried the required warning labels.

Consumer Reports additionally found that Pepsi One purchased in New York had four times as much 4-MeI as Pepsi One purchased in California. The tested beverages in New York did have reduced amounts of the chemical though, indicating a positive step for the soda industry.

When Consumer Reports asked PepsiCo to comment on their findings, the company defended their formula, saying that, because the average person consumes less than one-third of a can of diet soda per day, their product meets California’s standard. Based on this fundamentally flawed reasoning, their product can have nearly 90 mcg of 4-MeI per serving. The only way that this justification would make sense is if the majority of Pepsi One drinkers literally open the can, drink a third of it and then save the rest for the next two days, which obviously is not the case.

Consumer Reports said that their policy and action arm, Consumers Union, will alert the California Attorney General’s office and will petition the FDA to set a federal standard on 4-MeI and require companies to be more specific about the type of caramel coloring they use. The FDA does not recognize that 4-MeI used in foods at current levels poses a risk to human health; they are however reviewing safety data and testing foods and sodas for the chemical.


Japanese fishermen complete annual dolphin massacre in Taiji cove

Japanese fishermen completed their annual dolphin slaughter in the Taiji cove on Tuesday.

“According to The History of Taiji, edited and published by Taiji town in 1979, the first recorded dolphin drive was in 1933, with subsequent hunts occurring in 1936 and 1944. It was not until 1969 that dolphin drives have been conducted on a large scale,” Sakae Hemmi of the Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan wrote.

Despite this, Japanese fishermen and their government justify dolphin drive hunts by saying they are a centuries-old cultural tradition. During these “hunts,” dolphins are rounded up and driven into the cove, where they are surrounded by nets and trapped. The way the dolphins are slaughtered has been noted for its brutality.

“A metal rod was stabbed into their spinal cord, where they were left to bleed out, suffocate and die. After a traumatic four days held captive in the killing cove, they experienced violent captive selection, being separated from their family, and then eventually were killed today,” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society activist Melissa Sehgal told Reuters.

“The hunting of whales and dolphins has been carried out since long ago and is performed on scientific grounds,” Kazutaka Sangen, the mayor of Taiji, told reporters. He did not explain how slaughtering thousands of dolphins over a period of decades contributes to science.

In reality, these killings have much more to do with money than “cultural tradition” or “scientific grounds.” According to the UK’s Independent, dolphin meat can sell for anywhere from $9.00 to $17.00 per pound (around 6-10 British pounds sterling). And National Geographic reports live Taiji dolphins being sold abroad for as much as $150,000 each, and the price range paid by Japan’s many aquariums is closer to between $40,000 and $80,000.

The annual hunt has been a source of controversy and criticism against Japan, especially since the release of the 2009 documentary The Cove, which thrust the event into the world’s spotlight. Dolphins are extremely intelligent creatures, and in 2013 the government of India recognized their status as “non-human persons” who “should have their own specific rights.”

Personal Trainers: Get the Competitive Edge

Guest Author: Katherine Flowers of BodyTrack

Working out without someone to guide you can be very challenging. You might be trying to motivate and push yourself more each day without seeing any progress on the scale or without improving your physique and fitness level. If you want to get more from your workout, a personal trainer can propel you towards your goal.  Let’s look at some of the reasons you need one.

Get the results you want and deserve

For a lucky few people, all it takes to achieve a body shape or weight goal is to show up at the gym.  They follow a specific routine they believe will help them improve their physical well being. However, they may not realize the ineffectiveness of their workouts and may realize they haven’t really improved over time.

A personal trainer can help you achieve all of your fitness goals. Whether you are looking to lose 10-20 pounds or gain muscle mass, trainers can find just the right regime for you. They can show you a series of effective cardio activities to shed calories or resistance training to build your muscles.

Put your trust in a professional

There are seasoned gym members who can give advice to newcomers. Their advice usually includes workout methods and other exercises which they say works for them. Their claim might be true, but there is no way to determine if the same workout they are doing will work for you.

Instead, personal trainers are someone you can trust with your body and progress at the gym. Before they can work with anyone on their workouts, trainers need to be certified by the state or federal office. This qualification and training shows trainers are best prepared to help you achieve a fitness goal.

Professional supervision

The majority of us need someone to show us  if we are on track with our workout. You may never know if you are lifting weights or doing warm-up exercises correctly. You don’t want to keep repeating ineffective or even dangerous mistakes. Even if there are other gym members present, they may not have time to watch over you during your workout.

Personal trainers are there to give you an on-the-spot feedback during your workout. They can see if there are any techniques you are having a hard time with which they can help you improve upon. If you are still having a challenge with a particular training exercise, they can provide an appropriate alternative.

Gives you the edge in physical competition

Personal trainers can help you improve your body in order to gain the advantage you need in your sport or competition. Certain trainers have studied the most common physical events and know which muscle groups are utilized during those activities. In a marathon, for example, trainers know you need to develop your leg muscles while improving your stamina reserves. In order to improve your body for a physical competition, trainers will provide an effective workout method specific to that sports demands. This will help you target specific body parts to improve upon.

Helps you become confident and concise in improving your body

Personal trainers won’t just show you how to improve your body, they can teach you how to do it on your own. Trainers are effective teachers in making sure you are able to practice the methods they provide you. In fact, they can even assist you in becoming a physical trainer yourself.

Having a personal trainer can benefit you in the long run than trying to do it on your own. For more information, organize a meeting with a trainer in your area today.  Make sure the trainer you choose has great credentials, proper certifications and a list of happy clients as referrals.

 Healthy Blessings,