Nancy Dell: Coloring in soda; Foods for good skin

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1. Which is safer to drink, regular cola or diet?
Adam, Internet

Actually, any cola or soda with a golden brown color may be harmful for your health.  The "caramel coloring" that you see in the ingredients is made up of a chemical called "4-Mel".  According to the World Health Organization, this chemical may cause cancer. 

 The state of California limits manufacturers to 29 micrograms of exposure for the average consumer per day. Foods with more must be labeled "Warning: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer."

But Consumer Reports found some sodas exceed this amount without a warning label.  When Consumer Reports purchased soda in New York, it contained 4 times the allowed 4-Mel.  Plus, here in Massachusetts we have no warning label.

The American Beverage Association and the FDA say currently caramel coloring is considered safe. As research on caramel color continues, if you decide you want to avoid caramel color, read the ingredients on the food you buy.

 It is in many foods as well: beer, bread, chocolate, desserts, salad dressing, pickles and vinegar.  If you want to avoid it, be sure to read the ingredients on the foods you buy.

2. I want to have great skin.  How can I change my diet to help?
Lindsay, Southampton

Many foods can affect your skin but the first thing to look at is sugar.  Sugar takes a toll on skin. It causes inflammation, damages collagen and elastin, and causes your skin to lose moisture.

Studies show that people with high blood sugar develop more wrinkles. Experts recommend you limit the added sugar in your diet to 25 grams a day or 6 teaspoons.  Read your labels to know how much added sugar is in the food you eat.

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