Soda causes diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay, we’ve all heard through studies, dentists, and doctors, but one soda is claiming it can actually cure diabetes and cancer. Chicha Limena is boasting its sugary soft drink ingredients have the power to cure diseases, although the product can’t in reality, so Thursday New York’s Attorney General demanded the soft drink maker stop its false promises.
“While soft drinks may market the advantages of their products, they may not make unsubstantiated claims that their products have the potential to prevent or cure serious health problems,” State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, according to the NY Daily News.
The makers of the concoction, the Varas Group, stood by their claims on the basis that the drink’s purple maize extract had such high levels of antioxidants that it could help fight cancer and diabetes. The Peruvian pop drink is marketed mostly toward Hispanic communities in the New York City area, but advertising false claims to any population of people within the United States is illegal.
Chicha Limena is a purple corn soda drink that contains 29 grams of sugar in just half the glass bottle alone. The non-carbonated drink also has pineapple, lemon, water, cinnamon, cloves, and a whole lot of sugar. The World Health Organization recommends a daily sugar intake of 25 grams or six teaspoons, which means one bottle of Chicha Limena accounts for two days’ worth of sugar.
The company promoted their farce of a magical drink by handing out free samples at several locations throughout the New York tri-state area, touting “Embrace the power of purple.”
The health benefit claims were unfounded and a far stretch from the truth, especially considering high sugar consumption has been linked to type 2 diabetes numerous times. That’s like saying you’re eating ketchup with your bacon cheeseburger and fries because you heard that ketchup has lycopene in it, which prevents diabetes.
Not only do soft drinks not cure cancer, diabetes, or obesity, but they actually have some pretty disturbing side effects. Danish researchers discovered non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases of fat buildup around the liver and skeletal muscles, both of which contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. Those who drank regular soda every day for six months had a 132 to 142 percent increase in liver fat, and a 117 to 221 percent increase in skeletal fat.
As for its cancer cure claim? The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the Food and Drug Administration in 2011 to ban using artificial caramel coloring used to make Coke, Pepsi, and other colas because it was found to cause cancer in animals.
The attorney general said the company crossed the line when they advertised the drink as “a nutritional powerhouse packed with antioxidants” that “may help prevent obesity and diabetes,” in addition to its claims to cure cancer.
The Chicha Limena website now reads: “This product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
The Varas Group has since agreed to stop making the health-related claims in all of its marketing materials and has agreed to pay New York State $5,000 in penalties, costs, and fees.