Is caramel harmful to health?

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Caramel contains at least four substances that are harmful to our health. This is highlighted by a new study conducted in Belgium that warns both adults and children. Caramel is used to sweeten food products and to give them the characteristic amber color, but it would not be healthy at all.



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Il caramello it would contain at least four substances harmful to health. This is highlighted by a new study conducted in Belgium that warns both adults and children. Caramel is used to sweeten food products and to give them the characteristic amber color, but it would not be healthy at all.

Lo they claim researchers from the Scientific Institute of Public Health of Belgium (ISP). Beware of the numerous uses of caramel, as a sweetener and dye, at an industrial level. We find it not only in sweets and confectionery, but also in fizzy drinks, sauces, cube, vinegar, some beers and other products.

Other substances are added to the caramel obtained with sugar and water (E150a), such as ammonia (E150b) e sulfites (E150c). Some potentially toxic substances would derive from the fusion of sugar with water. Experts have identified four:

- EXAM: substance that prevents the body's immune reactions from functioning properly.

- 5–HMF: substance with a high toxicological potential.

- MAY 2 e MAY 4: these are two chemical agents considered potentially carcinogenic.

The new study should attract the attention of EFSA, which currently does not carry out targeted checks due to the lack of data relating to the actual concentrations of potentially hazardous substances in the final food product. The concern is especially strong for children, who are the largest consumers of packaged foods and beverages that contain caramel.

Fizzy drinks, ice cream, baked goods and desserts can also hold up to 5 grams of caramel per kilo. A figure that rises to 300 grams per kilo in candy. Experts therefore remember that it takes very little to exceed the recommended daily dose, based on body weight, which is lower in children than in adults.



For example, a 3 year old who weighs 15 pounds should not ingest more than 4,5 grams of caramel per day. Regular use of foods that contain caramel, researchers say, could pose health risks. Therefore, to avoid any dangers, it would be advisable to read the labels carefully and limit products containing caramel to occasional consumption, with particular reference to children.



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Marta Albè

Photo source: cucinaredolci.com

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