I have had the reputation since I was a kid, for possessing a cast-iron stomach. But, a thing or two has gotten to me and caused some sort of distress. One of those things is BVO. The letters B,V, and O stand for Brominated Vegetable Oil and is used in citrus flavored sodas to help the flavored oils mix well with the other ingredients in the soft drink. A few months ago, I developed a taste for a certain citrus flavored drink made by the number two cola manufacturer. These guys also make the original and still very popular sports drink.
About 10 days ago, I became tired and my muscles and joints felt, well, strange. And then there was a certain amount of rather strange lower intestinal cramping. My wife Sandra picked up the soda bottle and read the label. She said, " Amor, maybe it's the BVO. You should check it out." Up to that point, I had no idea what the hell BVO was. This heathen soul has been around long enough to know that it's a good thing to listen to his wife. She is, after all, smarter than me. What I discovered I wish I had known before I started drinking that stuff.
BVO is not found in nature; it is a synthetic food additive that was developed in a lab to help market various things that we drink an eat. In large doses and consumed over a period of time, it can become toxic. Maybe that's why BVO is banned in Europe. But, here in the States, the FDA believes that under the currently allowed soft drink formulas, it is an acceptable additive. Did I mention that when the basic BVO formula is slightly altered, it is used to make stuff flame retardant? My thoughts at the time were - oh shit, am I gonna glow in the dark? Am I radio-active? Strange thoughts run through your head when you can pin-point the source of your distress. Of course, my skin does not glow in the dark or look like a yellow safety vest. And, I am not radio-active. But, along with the aches and pains, it was enough to get me to stop drinking the stuff; why take the chance. From here on, nothing but beer and water for me. Never had a problem with either.
Copyright @2013 Terry Unger
Author's Note: Since the above was posted, Pepsi has discontinued using BVO in its sports product, Gatorade. And recently, Coca Cola announced that it would stop using BVO in its sports drink, Powerade. I am at a loss. If you take it out of sports drinks, why stop there. Take it out of all soft drink products.