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Shocking: Why Are Doctors Recommending This Toxic Drink?

I have been receiving emails from the #FoodBabeArmy about an alarming practice that happens at doctor’s offices around the country that needs to stop today.

First, however, I was thrilled by the news last week that Coke and Pepsi both announced that they’re (finally) removing Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) from their products – which includes Mountain Dew and Powerade. Of course these products are still no good for your body, as they are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, preservatives, phosphates, and artificial colors. Once consumers find out about these questionable ingredients, food companies have nowhere left to hide, but some remain in denial, I’ll get to that in a minute.

This is a great win for my friend Sarah Kavanagh, an amazing teen food activist (seen below) who started the initial petition, and also for the #FoodBabeArmy because BVO is one of the most harmful ingredients that is still being used in the U.S., even though it’s banned in Europe and Japan. It’s patented for use as a flame retardant! 


It’s banned for good reason.

According to food chemist, Walter Vetter, PhD, “BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects”.  Most shockingly, there is a published report of a man who had to undergo dialysis after regularly consuming large amounts of Ruby Red Squirt containing BVO. There is another report here indicating that soda with BVO caused the same condition, deteriorating a man to the point that he couldn’t even walk. Of course, these people were drinking an insane amount of soda (up to 8 liters a day), and the cumulative effects on your body when you consume fewer BVO-containing drinks is largely unknown because the research is scarce. Charles Vorhees, a toxicologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center agrees by saying, “Compounds like these that are in widespread use probably should be reexamined periodically with newer technologies to ensure that there aren’t effects that would have been missed by prior methods…I think BVO is the kind of compound that probably warrants some reexamination.” Out of the research that has been done, it has been shown that BVO accumulates in your body and is linked to heart lesions. As reported in Scientific American, “After a few extreme soda binges—not too far from what many gamers regularly consume—a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine”.  

Given this evidence pointing to the dangers of BVO consumption, can you believe that it has taken SO LONG for Coke and Pepsi to finally remove it from their products?  

There really is no excuse. Way back in the 1970s, the FDA began to question the safety of BVO and put the ingredient on “interim status”, which meant that food companies could use it in products until toxicology research was done. Well – guess what? Those studies have not been done in the last 40 years, so it has remained in our food –  and the FDA has done nothing about it.  

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 11.28.41 PM

With the FDA asleep at the wheel, you will still find BVO legally in these drinks by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group:

  • Squirt
  • Diet Squirt
  • Ruby Red Squirt
  • Diet Ruby Red Squirt
  • Sunkist Fruit Punch Soda
  • Sunkist Peach Soda
  • Crush Orange Soda
  • Crush Peach Soda
  • Crush Pineapple Soda
  • Peñafiel Grapefruit Soda
  • Peñafiel Mandarin Soda
  • Sun Drop Citrus Soda
  • Diet Sun Drop Citrus Soda
  • Sun Drop Cherry Lemon Soda
  • Stewarts Orange ‘n Cream Soda
  • Diet Stewarts Orange ‘n Cream Soda
  • Stewarts Key Lime Soda

I found it incredibly disturbing that some of these sodas “comply with school beverage guidelines” and are being served nationwide in our schools. A member of my team contacted Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and was told they have no plans to remove BVO from any of these drinks because it’s “FDA approved” and has been diligently researched. At least we know the truth and will avoid these drinks at all costs. 

Also, many store brand citrus sodas still contain brominated oil, so watch out for those too.

And we aren’t done yet.

There is one place where BVO is lurking that is reprehensible – and I knew that I needed to bring light to it. A drink containing BVO is being prescribed by doctors to pregnant women everywhere when they get tested for gestational diabetes – a routine test given to nearly all pregnant women in the U.S.  

Check out the ingredients for the “Oral Glucose Tolerance Beverage” by AeroMed

Glucose Test Gestational Diabetes

These drinks (also known as “Glucola”) are essentially sugar water with hazardous artificial colors and preservatives with a VERY LONG shelf life. They are no better than most sodas on the market – and truly not something you’d want to consume while pregnant. Yet, doctors routinely prescribe this non-carbonated soda to their pregnant patients, without taking into consideration the dangerous ingredients they contain. While it’s certainly important to monitor your blood glucose during pregnancy, there are alternatives to drinking this toxic sugar water.

Realize you have a choice – Simply ask your doctor what other options you have and if they don’t know, educate them!

The purpose of the drink is to ingest 50 to 100 grams of glucose, after which your doctor can test how your body handles influx of sugar. This woman was given the alternative of eating real food, such as bananas. This study showed that eating 28 jelly beans had the same effect on blood sugar in a 50 gram glucose test.  Of course, you’d want to choose a non-gmo variety, free of artificial colors and other nasties!   

An even better option that you can discuss with your doctor would be to avoid the test altogether and monitor your blood sugar with a glucometer throughout your pregnancy, as recommended here, here and here. This is the best alternative because you won’t create an extreme blood sugar spike, and can stick to your regular healthy diet. You will also avoid feeling like you are going to vomit and the dreaded “crash and burn” that women report after drinking glucola – including several Food Babe readers who have reached out to me personally.

As you can see, there is absolutely no reason that you need to consume these toxic glucola drinks. Now that you are informed, you can make a better choice for yourself and your baby.

Remember, I am not a doctor (take my advice at your own risk), however, in my opinion there is no way in hell any doctor could convince me to drink something with flame retardant, artificial dyes made from petroleum, controversial preservatives and GMOs, pregnant or not!

If you know someone who is pregnant or is still drinking BVO, please share this critical information with them and let them know they have a choice!

Wishing you the greatest health imaginable.



Update 12/6/2017: There is now a natural alternative, The Fresh Test, which is an exact equivalent to glucola – but without all the preservatives, dyes, and BVO.

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401 responses to “Shocking: Why Are Doctors Recommending This Toxic Drink?

  1. Bromine blocks the absorption of Iodine and is a suspected cause of Hypothyroidism. You can check the facts online or books by Dr. David Brownstein or numerous other doctors.

    1. That’s very interesting in that after my first pregnancy I had issues and after I was tested found that I had hypothyroidism.

      This is my 3rd pregnancy and my birthing center is having me eat real food 1hr before appt.
      2 eggs, 2 pieces of whole wheat toast (no jelly/jam), 2 slices of cheese or 8oz milk, 4oz 100% juice

      I’m actually looking forward to it :-). Now I’m glad I’m researching the nasty stuff .

    2. Thank you for your VERY interesting information on bromides I eat mostly organic and found even my organic steel cut oats are compromised very disturbing

  2. My granddaughter hates that ice cream has anti freeze in it ! She would rather have it harder to scoop. Can Sarah take it on ?

  3. NO pregnant woman should be subjected to overnight fasting and then forced to drink a sugary drink of ANY kind….then stay in the Drs office or lab for blood draws of up to every hour for 4 hours. THAT is a horrible and sometimes dangerous task for a pregnant woman! I refused to have that done! and advised my daughters the same….the following IS how this test for diabetes SHOULD be done on a pregnant woman!
    A better alternative is for a 6-8 hour fast (water is ok) and then have blood drawn for a fasting blood sugar. THEN the patient should have a GOOD breakfast (protein, carbs and juice)….!
    Then a blood sugar can be drawn 1/2 hour later, 1 hour later and the most important is the 2 hours postprandial blood sugar draw. IF the Dr oks it, then a 3 and a 4 hour blood sugar can be drawn.
    Why can’t we be proactive? WHY take Drs advice blindly???

    1. I’m so glad I found this page. I failed my first glucose test I went in blindly and drank the drink INSTANTLY made me sick and I had to hold it in for an hr. They said to go back and do the fasting test and I just think that’s ridiculous. I don’t drink soda ever im not a fan of sweets and wasn’t surprised the test was a little over. Def asking for a vegan option or natural option for my next test.

  4. As I agree that BVO is dangerous for daily consumption, I disagree with removing it from a one time glucose tolerance test. It must build up in your system to do any damage one time use will not hurt you. Glucose tolerance test is a test to see how long your body takes to remove and balance the access sugar in your system. Now if you want to get rid of this why not ban all other medications as they all have adverse effects.

    1. Shauna,
      As I’m sure you saw in this article, along with several comments, there are much healthier alternatives to doing the same glucose testing. And you don’t know whether it has to “build up” in a developing fetus or whether it may do harm with just one time…. So why risk it.

      As far as other meds go, people have to weigh the risks against the benefits before taking ANY drug (they should be, regardless of whether they do).

      There are prescription meds I chose to take because the issues without them are worse than the possible issues with them… But that’s my choice.

      And since over the counter meds suggest they not be taken while pregnant or nursing, if there are safer ways to accomplish the goal, why not use them?

    2. I concur. I agree that all BVO FOODS & BEVERAGES, even testing mixtures or medicines need to remove harmful ingredients from products. Or by LAW THEY SHOULD BE INCLUDED ON LABELS.

    3. I just went to the on/gun today with my daughter today. I told them that she was not going to have the glucose test. They tried to make it look like we were killing the baby by not doing it. I told them that they need to research what they have the patients do, and not just through the medical board. Finally I told the woman that we refuse the test. OK but it will be noted in the chart. We were like OK. What jerks

      1. When I tried to refuse that test for similar reasons, my doctor told me that I had three options: take the test anyway, test my sugar four times a day for two weeks, or let them consider not having me as a patient anymore. With a phobia of needles, I, unfortunately, was left without a choice.

  5. Wish I had known this back in the day. I had to drink that crap with all 3 pregnancies to test for gestational diabetes. I had it, but controlled it completely with diet…no insulin! My doctor called me his rock star mom because I did what was necessary to ensure insulin wasn’t needed. Luckily, as soon as I delivered, it was no longer a problem.

  6. Vaccines are Not safe! You think giving a newborn baby 6 different types of vaccines full of Horrible preservatives and other crap when they are a couple months old. Obviously the people who think they are “safe” have no idea what’s in them and probably eat GMO’S and non organic food and think the fluoride in our water is good for them! Autism and vaccines have been studied and its very clear they DO cause autism! The studies have been covered up by big pharma! The pharmaceutical industry is a multi billion dollar industry. They don’t care about people it’s all about profit!

    1. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but several recent studies have come out saying that there actually is no link between vaccinations and Autism. I have researched this myself (I work with kids with autism) and several reputable sources (such as the CDC and Autism speaks among others) have reported that there is not a link. Please feel free to check it out yourself. I’m not saying that vaccines do not have ingredients that are bad for you, but you shouldn’t blame them for Autism. Also, vaccinations have nothing to do with this post about pregnant women drinking a toxic drink.

      1. Actually, there is a link. I can send you links to at least 82 well done studies that demonstrate various link between vaccines and autism. Of the studies you may be referencing, one has recently been called into question by a CDC whistleblower and another is authored by CDC researcher Poul Thorsen who is also on the FBIs most wanted list. Feel free to check it out. This is not to blindly say that vaccines CAUSE autism however, there are of course other factors but it is undeniable that there is a link for many individuals.

    2. Well, unlike Brominated Oils, vaccines are safe. I have no idea where did you get this.

    3. You might want to check the rise of Autism since the 70’s with the rise in use of RoundUp (Glyphosate) rather than blaming it on vaccines.

      1. Let’s take a serious look at all of them, ALL of the vaccines AND Round up. Someone who has no ties to pharma raise your hand!

  7. I had the initial glucose test more than two weeks ago. I drank the syrup, it was a different brand without bvo. That day, I was exhausted and that night, I could not sleep. My heart was racing and my body felt all jittery and twitchy. (Think restless legs syndrome) I finally fell asleep about 3 or 4 am.
    I got sick a few days later. (Sugar lowers your immune system and I think that is what happened here)
    I failed the test by a few points and I requested to use the glucometer instead, which was approved. My blood glucose readings have been all over the place and I have never felt so exhausted in all my life. Feeling this way did NOT start until I drank the glucola. I have finally started feeling myself in the past 2 days, more than 2 weeks later. I truly believe that the glucola sent me over the edge. I’m not saying I would’ve passed the initial test if I had had juice or some other food. What I’m saying is, my body cannot tolerate artificial crap and it did not know how to metabolize an insane amount of manufactured glucose, without jacking up the way my body usually metabolizes food.
    I think the glucola can be very dangerous for people who are sensitive to artificial ingredients, like myself. Also, some women may have no idea why they feel so horrible for days, even weeks, after consuming this junk. And who knows what it does to our babies organs!
    I say, fight for a natural food alternative or the glucometer – from the beginning!

    1. I felt the same way. I was so upset/sat/emotional that I was basically feeling forced to take this crap. They didn’t let me retest, I was also over by a few points.

    2. The same exact thing happened to me and now its 3 months after pregnancy and I am certain I may have real diabetes from the two poisoned glucose drinks I drank at the doctors office I was so healthy before this always ate organic and mostly a preservative free diet I believe because of this I was affected worse by the poison trying to look up a way I can heal my body and flush this out

  8. Yes, 25 years ago, between drinking this and the four blood draws after not being allowed to eat I went home feeling weak. The next day I had full blown bronchitis. Checked my temperature and it was going over 103 and is supposed to be kept not higher than 101 when pregnant. Called in to the doctor and they said tylenol repeated if needed at least two hours apart. I also took a cold bath and drank cold water. During the night the temperature would creep up even with the tylenol so I sat at an open window, 17 degrees out, with bronchitis, naked except for a wet towel over my back and finally in the morning I was over it.The baby was not harmed then, but I could have got really sick. Wish I had a midwife, not a Dr.. My son was born four months later with fever from E-coli, I think came from rough office exam of cervix by Dr.that made mucus plug come out later. He had spinal tap, then 10 days in PICU, then OK. My blood sugar had tested in normal range. I only go to acupuncture, Tibetan or Chinese traditional doctors or homeopaths now, and read a lot about health.

  9. After reading this, I went in to my last appointment at my birth center ready to put up a fight over my upcoming glucose test. Imagine my surprise when in response to my request for an ingredient list, they told me I would have to drink two organic grape juices before the test. I was so relieved (but they kind of took the wind out of my sails on that battle, lol). Kuddos to such a forward-thinking birth center and team of midwives!

  10. I first learned about BVO on a Dr. Oz segment. I learned that companies do not use it for products overseas, but still use it here. Why the inconsistency? To learn that other soft drinks still contain BVO is unsettling because so many parents are unaware of the health risks. Reminds me of the vaccine issue and how with all of the injuries reported, parents and doctors still have on the blinders.

  11. Please everyone, share this invaluable information every way you can. Everyone needs to start reading labels and saying “no,” or we continue to allow ourselves and our children to be poisoned.

  12. My doc ordered a 3 hour glucose tolerance test with insulin levels….to check my pancreas (I am not pregnant), but don’t want to drink the glucola. The lab will not test me unless I do. Any suggestions? Any thoughts on where I can go in NJ? Thank you, Tierney

  13. Hi FoodBabe – Thank you for exposing this to so many people. I am pregnant with my 3rd – you would NOT believe what I am going through to avoid this drink. I still want to be tested because I am considered high(ish) risk. The eye rolling in my doctor’s office… not too comforting that we will agree on an acceptable solution. Please keep educating people!! I hope more people will know what I’m talking about when I bring this stuff up (and maybe get a little less eye rolling) !!!!

  14. Ok, I just took this test….I read the ingredients as I was drinking and it did not have BVO or half of the ingredients listed here. I don’t remember all of the ingredients, but I do know that half of them here were NOT on that list. Maybe there are different manufacturers?

  15. 11-7-2014
    Wow – I believe that the so-called “medical industry” is not trust-worthy in general.
    So many doctors & nurses that I have worked with for years are brainwashed into thinking that the pharmaceutical company is ‘good’ for us :/
    For many years, I too was blinded but am extremely thankful that I now know the REAL TRUTH!
    I personally would rather know (then not know) how toxic drugs, vaccines as well as tainted GMO foods/drinks are … since having “my head out of the sand” is way better than being oblivious to the evil.
    Both Dr. Tenpenny & Dr. Mercola had helped me “wake-up” to reality!!
    Thank you Vani & team for shedding light on this toxic evil concoction because my oldest daughter (who is currently pregnant ) had a doctor appt. scheduled for next Monday (11-10-2014) where she was told she needed to drink that wicked garbage for the glucose test. Well thankfully we now know the truth about this toxic drink that my daughter phoned the doctor office today to cancel Monday’s appointment and she will be demanding a healthier alternative (for her & baby)!!

  16. I have really been aware about all of this since 2012, when I made a really bad mistake in eating McDonld’s happy meal I got a really tummy pain from three of the items, the apples , the fries, and the apple juice , Turns out that they have bad stuff in the meat! They care more about money than the health of children.

  17. I just found a medical team that supported my decision NOT to drink this. They studied my blood from the past three months instead! Happy nesting to all the little ones in the belly!

  18. I am pregnant and just had the second glucose tolerance test done last week because I failed the first one. This is my 4th pregnancy and had it done with all of my pregnancies. I wish I had read this 2 weeks ago because I would have refused the test!!! I am going to show this article to my doctor and ask if they will consider informing their patients of the potential health risks associated with certain ingredients and off an alternative if the patient desires. It sickens me and angers me that I feel like I can’t even trust the medical advice of my doctor anymore. It is becoming clearer to me that we have to be our own health advocate because more often than not our health care professionals are just slaves to the food and drug companies and government agencies who approve all this stuff for human consumption. I will spread this like wild fire about this drink. I want other mothers to have the alternative I was not informed I had!! Thank you Vani for your bravery and all you do in exposing the truth. I don’t know where we’d be without you!

  19. Discouraging pregnant patients from obtaining this valuable screening test is incredibly dangerous advice. Shame on you, Food “Babe.”

  20. Anybody have contact phone number for the fresh test? I placed an order last week and cannot get in touch with them by email, web, or Instagram. My juice was supposed to ship yesterday and I havent heard a thing. Hope it comes in time.

  21. Hi Vani,

    I wanted to let you know about a new alternative for the glucose tolerance test!

    Glucoganics is the cleanest 50G glucose beverage that is USDA ORGANIC and designed for the glucose tolerance test. Glucoganics is packaged in glass and does not contain additives, preservatives, dyes or natural/artificial flavors. It is lab-verified to contain 50G of glucose and is produced in an FDA approved facility.

    I would love for your Food Babe Army to know about this new healthier alternative! Feel free to visit!



  22. I would also love an investigative piece on Ensure. My dad’s currently in the hospital recovering from a quadruple bypass, and they’re feeding him Ensure. He’s 80. Thanks Food Babe!

  23. I was so happy to find The Fresh Test, to my knowledge it is the first FDA registered alternative. It was recommended at my local LabCorp office and now seeing it here. Pregnancy is worrisome enough but I am relieved to have found a natural alternative.

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