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Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bvo/AN02200
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
Should I be worried that my favorite soda contains brominated vegetable oil? What is it?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Brominated vegetable oil — or BVO for short — is a food additive sometimes used to keep citrus flavoring from separating out in sodas and sports drinks, such as Fanta, Mountain Dew and Gatorade. Controversy has long surrounded the use of BVO. It's banned as a food additive in Europe and Japan but not in the U.S.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally categorized BVO as "generally recognized as safe," the agency later reversed that decision. Currently, under certain conditions and on an interim basis pending more research, the FDA allows BVO to be used as a food additive.
Health concerns about BVO stem from the fact that it contains bromine, the element found in brominated flame retardants. Only a few studies have looked at possible safety issues, but it appears that bromine builds up in the body. There also have been a few reports of people experiencing memory loss and skin and nerve problems after drinking excessive amounts (more than 2 liters a day) of soda containing BVO. Some beverage manufacturers are even considering taking BVO out of their products.
So what should you do? Don't drink large amounts of BVO-containing beverages. Better yet, take it one step further and cut back on all sugary drinks. Opt instead for healthier choices, such as water, low-fat milk and an occasional glass of 100-percent fruit juice.Next question
Vegetable juice: As good as whole vegetables?
- Bendig P, et al. Brominated vegetable oil in soft drinks — an underrated source of human organobromine intake. Food Chemistry. 2012;133:678.
- 180.30 Brominated vegetable oil. Title 21: Food and drugs. Part 180 — Food additives permitted in food or in contact with food on an interim basis pending additional study. Code of Federal Regulations. http://federal.eregulations.us/cfr/title/title21/chapterI/part180?selectdate=2/8/2013. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Horowitz BZ. Bromism from excessive cola consumption. Clinical Toxicology. 1997;35:315.
- Jih DM, et al. Bromoderma after excessive ingestion of Ruby Red Squirt. New England Journal of Medicine. 2003;348:1932.
- Israel B, et al. Brominated battle: Soda chemical has cloudy health history. Scientific American. Dec.11, 2011. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=soda-chemical-cloudy-health-history. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Strom S. PepsiCo will halt use of additive in Gatorade. New York Times. Jan. 25, 2013. http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/gatorade-listens-to-a-teen-and-changes-its-formula. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 18, 2013.