10 preservatives and additives to avoid in food

The culture around food is constantly evolving (as is science!) and as we learn to be more mindful of what we eat and put into our bodies, we naturally become more curious to learn. The focus is usually on getting “healthy” foods into our bodies, but do we know exactly what we’re eating each day?

An easy way to become more deliberate about what we put in our bodies is to read the ingredient list. If you’ve ever come across an ingredient that you can’t pronounce or don’t know where it came from…this article is perfect for you.

Here are 10 preservatives and food additives to avoid:

Trans fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils

This category includes corn, soy and palm oils as well as vegetable shortening. These products, commonly found in packaged foods, are intended to extend the shelf life of food products so that they can remain viable for years.

Trans fats help raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL). These factors contribute to obesity, strokes and heart disease.

potassium bromate

This is also known as “enriched flour”. This preservative is commonly used to increase the volume of bread and flour. Enriched flour has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is an endocrine disruptor.

It’s mostly found in commercial breads, so be sure to check the label before buying!

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Also commonly known as corn sugar, fruit fructose, and glucose syrup. Although it is a highly refined sweetener, it also acts as a preservative.

High fructose corn syrup is found in many food products. It contributes to diabetes and obesity by increasing appetite.

Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite

Have you ever wondered why meat in the supermarket always looks so red and shiny? Sodium nitrate is the one you can thank for that.

Sodium nitrates are found in many types of meat, including hot dogs and even some smoked fish.

Sodium nitrate is linked to damage to blood vessels, leading to hardening and narrowing that can contribute to heart disease.

BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydrozitoluene (BHT))

Used to prevent foods from going rancid and extend their shelf life, this preservative is found in cereals, candies, hot dogs and gelatin.

These antioxidants that are added to foods are considered carcinogenic and have been linked to cancer not only in humans but also in animals.

artificial food coloring

Artificial food colorings aren’t just those fun, colorful droppers, they come in many forms, including candies, cereals, and other processed foods.

There are many names, but the main culprits are red 40, blue 1, yellow 5 and yellow 6. Although there are many concerns, the main problems are related to allergies and hyperactivity in children.

Artificial sweeteners

If you love your daily Diet Coke, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose have been linked to headaches and migraines. Some other effects may include weight gain and insulin resistance.


Carrageenan is what gives your dairy-free alternatives the creamy texture you love and miss. In animal testing, there was a direct correlation with glucose intolerance when combined with a high wild fat diet. It has also been shown to negatively impact digestive health.

artificial flavors

Artificial flavors are exactly what they sound like, chemicals that are made just to mimic the flavors of other foods. Studies have shown that constant exposure to artificial flavors is toxic to bone marrow cells and slows cell division.

Yeast extract

This is commonly added to cheese and other savory snacks to enhance their flavors. Yeast extract has been shown to be moderately high in sodium. With high sodium levels, the risks of high blood pressure and other sodium-related health problems are greater.

By Health Fitness Revolution. Articles in English

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