Not long ago, people had trouble storing chocolates and cheese, even in refrigerators, for more than a couple of days. But today, thanks to advanced processing techniques and preservatives, these common household items can last for years together. Though on the outlook all these preservatives may look beneficial and harmless, the fact that we have all got to remind ourselves is that they are still chemicals with harmful toxins contained within them. And even though the FDA may approve of them for the benefit of the producers, they are not what one can exactly call as safe. So here is a list of the top harmful preservatives that you should always stay away from.
10. Aspartame E951
Think you can cut down all those extra calories by gorging on diet cokes and artificially sweetened bakery delicacies? Well though you may be stopping yourself from taking on those few extra calories, what you’re getting in return is far worse. Aspartame or Artificial sweeteners have been long known for their harmful effects on the human neurological system, but now researchers have proved that this food additive is actually carcinogenic, and can lead to an array of incurable diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple sclerosis, Brain tumors and even melanoma. So the next time you want to shed those extra pounds, hit the gym rather taking on this harmful preservative.
9. High Fructose corn syrup
Our next ‘pound builder’ on the list is this fast food delicacy that hides in almost every processed food that we eat. Usually added to obtain the sugary taste in fast food items, the high fructose corn syrup adds more calories per serving than any other ingredient. Not only does it contribute a lot of calories but also leads to the creation of LDL cholesterol which is known to cause cardiovascular diseases and heart strokes. So whether it’s low fat Italian dressing or processed cheese, just turn over the container and look for this devil hiding behind the labels. If it’s there, you better not take it in.
8. Monosodium Glutamate
Ever felt like eating more and more in a Chinese restaurant, even though you know that you’re so full that you can actually snort food through your nostrils? Well this phenomenon is called the Chinese restaurant syndrome (Yes! They actually named it that) and it’s caused due to this nasty little preservative added to the dishes. Monosodium Glutamate, contrary to popular belief, is actually a Japanese product not Chinese. It is said to provide a sense of completeness to the food, a flavor called Umami. But little do people realize that this excitotoxin also leads to cell damage, fatigue, obesity, diarrhea and a number of other side effects when consumed frequently. But unfortunately this is the major ingredient in all packed snack foods and processed meat snacks.
7. Trans Fat
Though this ugly little preservative has been removed for most of the snack foods that we consume, it is unfortunately being used in smaller quantities in almost fast food outlets. Essentially used to increase the shelf life of packed goods, Trans Fats are known to be the number one reason for all heart related issues. In fact they are considered so dangerous that some of the European countries have actually banned foods containing this preservative. Trans fat are found generously in Margarine butter, so called ‘baked potato chips’, crackers and all other snack foods that you consider low in calories.
6. Common Food Dyes
If you thought that the preceding items on the list were shocking, wait till you hear about these. Remember that time when you were a kid, you used to have a colored tongue whenever you had candy? Well that effect is all courtesy of the common food dyes, Blue (E133), Red (E124) and Yellow Tartrazine (E110 and E102). Known to cause all kinds chromosomal and neurological damage, these harmful chemical preservatives are found in almost every soft drink, candy, jelly, ice cream and processed cheese that you can imagine of. These color dyes are also known to lead to organ damage and yes, cancer.
5. Sodium Sulfite (E221)
Sulfur is not exactly the kind of chemical that you want to add in your food, but this particular compound that’s rich in sulfur is the major ingredient in all alcoholic beverages and dried foods. Sodium Sulfite is used in wine and other alcohols to preserve the flavor, but the sulfur content can lead to all kinds of respiratory problems and in few cases even death. A study suggests that one in every 100 of the population is sensitive to sulfur, and if you live in a large city, you might already be exposed to a large quantity of it. So in addition, if you add these preservatives to your diet, be ready to face some serious breathing issues.
4. Sodium Nitrate
You always thought that the redder the meat the fresher it is, didn’t you? Well, once again your eyes have been deceived by the advancements in chemical technology. The red coloring that you see on your favorite bacon, beef jerky strips, smoked meats and other lean cuts is not actually its natural color, but rather the handy work of this sneaky little preservative. Widely used to preserve processed meats, Sodium nitrate is found almost in every packaged meat products that you buy. And here is the inside scoop, this toxin is carcinogenic and actually leads to all kinds of organ damage. So here is one other reason to go Vegan.
3. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Well that’s a mouthful isn’t it? Well as complex as the name it bears this preservative is also one of the most indigestible complex chemicals that you can absorb. Used in cereals, baked goods, oils, potato chips and other fried foods, the preservative is used to keep foods from changing color and losing their taste. But the BHA’s have been termed as toxins by the USDA and are known to cause neurological and psychological damage.
2. Sulfur Dioxide
Another sulfur preservative that has sneaked into our diet is this harmful preservative called Sulfur Dioxide E220. Used widely in preserving alcoholic beverages, beers, soft drinks, fruit juices and potato products, the toxin has been well known to cause respiratory damage and lung tissue damage. Also large consumption of products containing this preservative can be fatal to those having asthma.
1. Potassium Bromate
The preservative that tops our list is, well you guessed it, is a carcinogen as well. But that’s not actually the surprising part; the surprising part is that it is found in our most favorite staple food item – bread. Used to increase the volume and shelf life of breads, Potassium bromate is actually widely used than you might think. So the next time you buy anything from your local grocery store be sure to check for these chemicals and rather not buy them at all even if you find any one the above mentioned preservatives in them.