The food industry has not been upfront and honest about the effects preservatives can have on our bodies. In the interest of monetary gains, there are many different harmful preservatives that we have no idea contaminate our foods and are terrible for our digestive system, and by extension, our health. The best way to protect yourself against these chemicals is to eat fresh food that has not been preserved or modified in any way. On the occasions that isn't possible, keep the following preservatives in mind as ones that you should stay away from.
Potassium Sorbate (202)
This specific preservative is used to protect cheese, wine, pickles, and dairy from mold growth. A study that was conducted in Turkey found that this preservative can cause damage to DNA. It is considered a genotoxic to the human peripheral blood lympchocytes. This chemical is often referred to as 202. To ensure that you are fully aware of everything that goes into your body, read the ingredients on the food that you purchase. If it comes in a package, this is imperative.
Sodium Benzoate (211)
Sodium Benzoate is typically used in oral medications, soda, salad dressings, fruit juices and jams. What's interesting about this particular preservative is that it is found to exist naturally in specific fruits. However, when it's mixed with vitamin C, which is typically the case when used as a preservative, it forms benzene, which is a known carcinogen. The amount of the benzene actually increases with the amount of time the food sits on the shelf. The rate of production to consumption is much longer in foods that have preservatives, which makes them increasingly harmful the longer they stay on the shelf. It is also believed that excess amounts of this substance can cause hyperactive responses from some children.
Sulphur Dioxide (220)
Sulphites in general are used to preserve the color and flavor of specific fruits, sauces, beers, wines, and sodas. It prevents spoilage by inhibiting the growth of bacteria. It works by preventing the browning of fresh food and is even incorporated in certain medication, to prevent them from going bad. A study conducted in Australia found that sulphites create unsavory reactions consistent with hay fever, allergies, hives and even elevated, dangerous anaphylactic reactions.
Sodium Nitrate (250)
This preservative is probably one of the better known and its unhealthy effects have been documented for quite some time. Sodium nitrate is used on specific meats like hot dogs, lunch meats, bacon, ham, and other cured meats in order to inhibit the growth of bacteria. It is also used as a color fixative. This works in a very specific way as it makes old meat appear appetizing and fresh - a purely dishonest trick with no regard to adverse effects and reactions. This preservative holds some of the most potent carcinogens within it, similar to those found in cigarette smoke. There has been a push to take nitrates out of meats and certain companies have been labeling meats that do not contain this harmful additive.