Top 5 food preservatives and their side effects
by Jes @SnackFirst on Apr 20, 2017
Food preservatives are necessary to prevent food from getting spoiled easily and also to increase the shelf life. It is more important to Singapore because we depend so much of our food from imports and a longer shelf life is beneficial for us.
However, that does not necessary mean they are good for our health. We will take a look at some common food preservatives:
1) Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate
Commonly seen: In sausages, bacon and other processed meat to prevent them from turning grey
When cooked at high temperature, sodium nitrite and nitrate can produce carcinogens, meaning they cause cancer. One scary thing is that they can also deprive oxygen in foetus so pregnant women should limit their intake. I personally find it hard to resist bacon, they taste so good in burgers and brunch.
2) BHA, BHT, TBHQ
Commonly seen: In gums, chips, baking products and processed snacks to prevent oils from turning rancid
These food preservatives has been classified by the Department of Health and Human Services as a known carcinogen but not by FDA. It is also claimed that they increase hyperactivity in kids. There is a safety limit set by FDA but it is not known how effective it is and there are no alternatives to this yet.
3) Sodium benzoate, benzoic acid
Commonly seen: In jelly and soft drinks to preserve acidic food
Benzene rings are a known carcinogen and they can be formed as a by-product of benzoates. It might also cause allergy, asthma, hives or hyperactivity in kids so it is up to the soft drink producers to come out with new formulations to prevent this.
Commonly seen: In baking products and raisins
There is an estimate of a million people been allergy to sulphites and most of them have asthma. They may cause breathing difficulties, shock and headaches.
5) Propyl gallates
Commonly seen: In sports drinks and chewing gum to prevent oils from turning rancid
Some studies has shown the gallates can be a carcinogen, with rat tests proving that they may give tumours and lymphoma. It is highly advised that people with liver, kidney problems and asthma to avoid these sports drinks and others containing gallates.
For the average kid without any problems, these preservatives should be fine. But for those high risk groups, there are so many food that you have to avoid. That is why we pride ourselves on selling snacks without preservatives so that you don't have to worry about such side effects.