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Side Effects of Harmful Food Preservatives

Harmful Food Preservatives
Food Preservatives
July 26, 2010- Food preservatives have been used since quiet a long time in the history of processed food as well as homemade food. The difference remained that the natural preservative never proved to be harmful to human health whereas the chemical food preservatives had many side effects. Harmful food preservatives have been accused of many health hazards ranging from mild headaches to most serious diseases like cancer. However, not all food preservatives are harmful, especially if they have been manufactured in controlled situations and used in food items in amounts permissible by food laws (that are, of course, made after thorough clinical research about harmful effects of food preservatives on animals and humans). Here, in this article, is presented the list of some common harmful food preservatives with their side effects. Knowing the side effects of harmful food preservatives will definitely help one in reading the food labels more thoroughly and in understanding whether to buy a food item that has a harmful food preservative in it!

List of Harmful Food Preservatives

Food preservatives are meant to improve food safety and that is why laws authorized their use, in limited amounts though, barring the most harmful preservatives. In general, preservatives limit, retard or arrest the growth of microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, fungi, mould, present in or that may enter into the food. Thus, food preservatives prevent spoilage or toxicity and increase shelf-life of the food products. However, the side effects of food preservatives can be felt with inadequate usage and extreme consumption of some harmful food preservatives that have been described in the following list.

Benzoates used as preservative for pickles, flour, margarine, fruit purees, fruit juices, and beer etc. can trigger allergies and may cause brain damage.

Bromates- the common food preservative used in white flour and bread- destroy nutrients and can cause diarrhea.

Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHA and BHT) are the synthetic antioxidant preservatives that have caused cancers in rats (however, this is a debatable issue as some studies have even showed that they may actually protect against the development of cancers). The food preservative BHA is used in in meats, baked goods, cereals, snack foods, and beer.

Mono-glceryides and Di-glceryides used to preserve foods like cookies, cakes, pies, bread, peanut butter, dry roasted nuts, vegetables packaged with sauce, shortening, and margarine have side effects that cause birth defects and cancer. Propyl gallate, preservative used in meat products, vegetables packaged with sauce, pickles, vegetable shortening and oils as also in chewing gum, are known as harmful preservatives as they may cause birth defects and liver damage.

Sulfites, the common food preservatives for fruits, dried fruit, canned olives and peppers, corn syrup, cornstarch, wine vinegar, and wine have side effects in form of headaches, joint pain, heart palpitations, allergies, and cancer.

Maleic hydrazide, the harmful food preservative (in fact a chemical inhibitor) is used to preserve potatoes to prevent them from sprouting. It has resulted in cancer in laboratory animals.

Propylene glycol and Carboxymethylcellulose are used to make Ice cream. Propylene glycol is the same substance that is used in antifreeze and paint remover and therefore it can clearly be seen as harmful food preservative. Carboxymethylcellulose is a stabilizer, also used in salad dressing, cheese spreads and chocolate milk and has shown to produce tumors in 80% of rats injected with it.

Brominated oils used as preservative for bottled fruit juice that also give them lengthier shelf life are harmful food preservatives that have serious side effects. They cause changes in heart tissue, enlargement of the thyroid, kidney damage, decrease in liver metabolism and also cause withered testicles. Some countries like Canada, Holland, and Germany have banned brominated oils in the production of bottled drinks.

Sodium nitrate, commonly used as preservative for ham, bacon, sausage and bologna gets converted into nitrous acid when consumed and is suspected of inciting stomach cancer. Germany and Norway have banned the use of this harmful food preservative declaring it a toxin.

Citric Acid that is artificially produced using sulfuric acid is also a harmful food preservative with side effects such as asthmatic attacks and allergic reactions. However, naturally occurring citric acid is a safe food preservative.

Natural food preservatives are, in fact, far more safer to use than the harmful chemical food preservatives to avoid all kinds of side effects of preservatives. Learn Preserving Food With Natural Food Preservatives

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