The Top 5 Food Preservatives to Avoid

In today’s society it has become more difficult to find foods that do not contain preservatives. While they serve the purpose of prolonging the healthy appearance and flavor of the food product itself, there have been studies that show that preservatives are not the best compounds to put in the human body.

Numerous studies and plenty of research has shown a connection between negative side effects and exposure to and ingestion of preservatives. Some preservatives have been linked to asthma and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity  Disorder (ADHD). Other compounds have been shown to cause cholesterol issues. Here are the top five preservatives that you might want to avoid in order to maintain good health.

1) Sodium Nitrate

This additive is to be avoided as much as possible. Sodium nitrate is a compound that can transform inside the body into a reactive compound that can cause cancer. Some products that contain this compound include bacon, ham, lunch meats, hot dogs, pepperoni, smoked fish and corned beef to name a few. 

2) Potassium Bromate

This additive is used to increase the volume of breads. It has also been linked to cancer in animals. This preservative is rare nowadays, but it is still legal to use in the U.S.  The state of California mandates that a warning label be placed on breads that contain potassium bromate. Read bread labels and avoid it if at all possible. Currently most bakers utilize absorbic acid instead of potassium bromate. 

3) Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener. It is added to many products in lieu of sugar. Aspartame has been linked to many health issues including headaches, memory loss, seizures, vomiting, hives, rash, abdominal pain, trouble sleeping, palpitations and anxiety. 

4) Sulfites

Sulfite dioxide is a preservative that is added to many foods. This compound can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. It can worsen asthma and decrease lung function. A person with this type of allergy can have migraines, hives and swelling of the throat. Some foods that contain sulfites include wines, dried fruits, beer, shrimp and canned cocktail onions.

5) BHA and BHT

BHA and BHT are otherwise known as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene. These compounds are added to keep fats and oils from going rancid. The substances can be found in products such as cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oils and potato chips. These compounds have also been known to cause cancer. Try to stay away from them as much as possible.

While preservatives in foods are a good idea on paper, they aren’t always a great idea for your body. There has been a lot of research and studies that have been completed that show the health issues surrounding these compounds. Many are linked to causing various forms of cancer and other serious health consequences. You might wan to opt for organic foods whenever possible in order to avoid these negative side effects. Organic foods have no preservatives added to them. They are generally considered to be much healthier options.


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