Artificial food additives and preservatives lengthen the lifespan of food and shorten the lifespan of people. There are many natural additives and preservatives, like salt, alcohol, vinegar and sugar; however, many additives and preservatives used by food manufactures are laced with toxic chemicals that are linked to a wide range of health problems. Artificial food preservatives are used to prevent food products from growing mold, bacteria or yeast, whereas artificial food additives are used to enhance the flavor and appearance of food. Technically, preservatives fall under the category of an additive, since they are added to change food before it is consumed. These dangerous chemicals might preserve your food, but they won’t preserve your health. Next time you go grocery shopping, make sure to avoid these top 10 food preservatives and chemicals that are destroying your health.
1. Phosphoric acid
Phosphoric acid is a colorless and odorless syrup seized by the soda industry. It’s added to fruit juices and soft drinks for its sharp, tangy taste and ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria. It’s used in other nonfood products too, including fertilizer, dyes and polishing metals. Phosphoric acid can erode more teeth than the jaw can chew. A report published in General Dentistry found that phosphoric acid can be as damaging to teeth as battery acid. It’s also been linked to low bone density and kidney disease. Turns out this sweet isn’t so sweet after all.
2. Sodium nitrite
Sodium nitrite is a preservative found in meats that have always seemed suspiciously unnatural, including hot dogs, salami and sausage. Sodium nitrite shouldn’t be confused with sodium nitrate, which is a naturally occurring compound. Sodium nitrate is converted into sodium nitrite. The nitrite can trigger a chemical reaction that creates cancer-causing compounds known as nitrosamines. Furthermore, sodium nitrite can inhibit red blood cells from transporting oxygen throughout the body, which can cause fatal respiratory problems. If you are going to purchase meat, it’s best to buy meat that is grass-fed and organic.
3. Sodium benzoate
Sodium benzoate is a preservative added to food, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and mouthwash. It’s even in consumer products paraded as “all natural.” Don’t be deceived. Whereas benzoic acid is a salt that occurs naturally in some foods, sodium benzoate is artificially manufactured in a lab. Benzoic acid has been shown to starve mitochondria cells of oxygen, which can cause serious damage to DNA. It’s been linked to hypertension, asthma attacks, kidney disease and stroke. Let your cells breathe easy by avoiding this noxious preservative.
4. Propyl gallate
Propyl gallate is used in vegetable oils, chewing gum, soup bases, potato sticks, cereals and processed meat products. It is tied to an equal number of health problems, including stomach irritation, liver damage and kidney damage, as well as colon and stomach cancer. Some scientists suggest that propyl gallate may interfere with hormones and lead to developmental, reproductive and neurological problems. Further study is needed to examine the effects that propyl gallate may have on hormones. As a precautionary measure, it’s best to steer clear of propyl gallate.
Aspartame is an artificial sweeter considered by many to be a dangerous excitotoxin. According to the Health and Human Services Department, there are approximately 92 side effects associated with the consumption of aspartame. Some symptoms of aspartame include anxiety, nausea, depression, migraines, heart problems and muscle spasms, to name just a few. In animal studies, aspartame caused holes to form in the brains of mice. While the FDA has approved the preservative as “safe,” aspartame is a sure means to destroying your health.
6. Monosodium glutanate (MSG)
MSG is one of the most widely avoided food preservatives. It is added as a flavor enhancer, like salt, to a variety of foods. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter, meaning it causes excessive stimulation of nerve cells. There are many adverse effects following the ingestion of MSG, including migraines, depression, brain lesions and seizures. The glutamate industry is aware of the dangerous side effects of MSG but continues to sell it anyway. In order to avoid consuming MSG, it is best to purchase unprocessed foods.
7. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
BHT is a preservative and carcinogen that the Center for Science in the Public Interest listed as an additive to avoid. It can be found in butter, cereal, preserved meat, baked goods and chewing gum. At high doses, BHT has been shown to increase cancer rates in animals. It’s also been shown to be toxic to the liver and kidneys. In order to avoid BHT, try looking for whole foods that do not need preservatives.
8. Potassium nitrite
Most Americans consume far too much sodium and not enough potassium, but don’t mistake potassium nitrite as a healthy source for this compound. Potassium nitrite is an inorganic compound added to a variety of meats, most notably ham. Outside of food, it is used in gun powder and fertilizer. Although it is regarded as safe in small quantities, potassium nitrite has been linked to a variety of health problems, including irregular heartbeat, convulsions, coma and various cancers. It’s been also shown to cause dizziness and headaches in children. While potassium nitrite does an excellent job of killing bacteria, it does an equally good job of damaging your health.
9. Ammonium sulfate
Ammonium sulfate is primarily used in fertilizers and household cleaning products, but it can also be found in bread. Even supposedly ethical fast food restaurants like Subway use ammonium sulfate in their bread. In excess amounts, ammonium sulfate can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory tract irritation, and may contribute to pre-existing pulmonary diseases. If cleaning products recommend that you don’t consume ammonium sulfate, why would you eat it in food?
10. Titanium dioxide
Titanium dioxide is an insoluble material found in sunscreen, plastics, paint and, you guessed it, food. It is added to processed foods like whipped cream, doughnuts, vanilla pudding and chocolate bars for a creamy texture. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently classified titanium dioxide as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Research on rats suggests that high levels of titanium dioxide can cause respiratory tract cancer. Other research suggests that titanium dioxide nanoparticles have toxic effects on brain cells and may lead to the development of degenerative brain diseases. Children are particularly vulnerable to high levels of titanium dioxide, since they tend to consume more sugary foods that contain titanium dioxide than adults.
Anything that is intended to preserve or add flavor to food sounds good in theory. Once the surface is scratched and the toxins are peeled, however, the health risks attached to food preservatives and additives far outweigh the benefits. In order to preserve your health, avoid artificial preservatives and chemicals.