Research from a British university suggests that sodium benzoate, a common preservative found in many soft drinks, can switch off vital parts of DNA. This could eventually lead to diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson’s. When a UK professor of molecular biology and biotechnology tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells, he discovered that it was damaging essential DNA in the cells’ mitochondria.

Mitochondria serve as the “power stations” for cells, and damage to them can lead to serious cell malfunctions associated with aging and age-related disease. The damage caused by sodium benzoate was significant enough to cause the mitochondria to stop functioning.

Sodium benzoate occurs naturally in berries in small amounts but is used in large quantities to prevent mold in soft drinks such as Sprite, Diet Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Dr. Pepper. It is also added to pickles and sauces.

Dr. Mercola’s Comment:

I am still shocked every time I reflect on the fact that the number one source of calories in America comes from soda. To me, it is an entirely mind-boggling fact. Of course, all I have to do to knock my senses back to reality is go to a standard grocery store on a busy weekend and see what people are stuffing in their shopping carts. We have a long way to go to share even the most fundamental, basic nutrition concepts to the typical profoundly deceived and manipulated consumer. This new danger from sodium benzoate merely is one among many, as sodas are among the worst possible “foods” you can consume.

The UK expert who discovered the problem, says that the soft drink preservative can “totally inactivate” and “knock out” cells’ mitochondria. The result is an increased risk of a slew of diseases. Sodium benzoate has previously also come under fire because, when combined with vitamin C in many soft drinks, it forms benzene, a cancer-causing chemical linked to leukemia. In one study, at least five brands of soft drinks were found to contain excessive benzene levels.

Sodium benzoate is used freely in the United States and the UK. Fortunately, you can protect your health from this dangerous substance by not drinking soda (and not allowing your kids to either). This is one of the easiest – and most significant – things you can do for your health; and aside from the good news that you won’t have to worry about damaging your DNA, giving up soda (if you drink it) can reduce your risk of diabetes, obesity, and cancer. So put down the can of soda and pick up a glass of clean water instead.

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