Sports Drink Ingredient Issue – Brominated Vegetable Oil
Brominated vegetable oil, aka BVO, is a patented product that is used as a flame retardant in plastics but is has also been used as an emulsifier in sports drinks since 1931. It took several decades before its harmful effects came to light and countries started banning its use in drinks.
Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas use BVO in order to keep the fat-soluble citrus flavors suspended in the drink made primarily of water. Without something to keep them mixed, they would partially separate and float to the top of the drink making it less attractive to consumers.
The bromine attached to the vegetable oil molecules compete with iodine for receptor sites in the body. As a result, it stay in the body and can accumulate to dangerous levels that might lead to hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Bromine is linked to organ damage, birth defects, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.
The US Food and Drug Administration listed BVO as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) in 1958. They withdrew the label in 1970. BVO was been prohibited in soft drinks in India in 1990 and banned as a food additive in Japan in 2010. To date, over 100 countries have now banned its use.
The issue came to the forefront in the media when Sarah Kavanagh started a petition to ban it form Gatorade and succeeded in using change.org online to collect 200 000 signatures and put tremendous pressure on Pepsi-Co who manufactures the drink. As of January 2013, it is no longer found in Gatorade. Kavanagh is not done yet. She has started a second petition with the help of Atlanta resident Aveyca Price that now has 49 000 signatures. They are looking to convince Coca Cola to stop using the food additive in its Powerade flavors, Fruit Punch and Strawberry Lemonade. Price being from Atlanta is not by accident. The head quarters for Coke is found in the city. Besides Gatorade, Vitamin Water and BodyArmor have also stopped using BVO.
As of February 2013, BVO is stilled used in Powerade, Fanta Orange and Fresca made by Coca-Cola; and Squirt and Sunkist Peach Soda, made by Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Did This Blog Help You? If so, I would greatly appreciate if you commented below and shared on Facebook or other social media.
Jacques Delorme has coached for more than 25 years at all age levels and is a certified coach in five sports with a strong background in nutrition. He is the founder of this site. Would you like to be a GUEST AUTHOR? Let me know using the CONTACT FORM. Trying to gain muscle but do not want to gain fat in the process? Here is how I do it! – Click Here