By Alanna Nuñez, Shape
1. Potassium Benzoate
When you crave something sweet, bubbly, and perhaps caffeinated but don’t want the calories, it can be tempting to crack open a diet soda — but resist that urge.
“Sodium and potassium benzoate are added to some diet soft drinks and fruit drinks,” Leslie Bonci, R.D., says. “They can form benzene, which is a carcinogen when combined with vitamin C, the ascorbic acid in juice or soda.”
In addition, research shows that there may be a link between diet cola consumption and weight gain, as well as cancer and diabetes, so if you’re a diet soda junkie, try to cut back. Our five tips will help you kick the habit.
If you don’t drink soda, you’re not safe, though. Potassium benzoate often shows up in seemingly innocuous foods such as apple cider, low-fat salad dressings, syrups, jams, olives, and pickles, so read labels.
This excerpt is from Part 1 of a list compiled by Alanna Nuñez, published in Shape Magazine.