Reading Labels with...Brominated Vegetable Oil, aka “BVO.” This chemical enhances the bright colors in many bottled beverages like soda, sports drinks and citrus flavored drinks. BVO has been linked to increasing cholesterol levels, and can cause damage to vital organs including the liver and kidneys. This food additive, which works as an emulsifier in beverages, features bromine, the same ingredient used with some flame retardants in furniture and plastics. Sounds gross, but what's worse is the harm: In addition to the health risks mentioned in our list of 13 banned foods still allowed in the U.S., BVO may also cause build-up in fatty tissues and create reproductive and behavioral problems.
What to do?
- Make your own flavored water, sports drink or fresh citrus juice!
Reach for natural coconut water over traditional, brightly colored sports drinks. If you're looking to kick your cola habit, reach for sparkling water and add a lime or lemon wedge. When only soda will do, buy one sweetened with all-natural stevia that doesn’t contain phosphoric acid, an ingredient usually added to keep bubbles fresh but that has been shown to block calcium absorption.