Most of us probably know that there are ‘something’ or ‘stuff’ called preservatives in most of the food we buy off the shelf but how well do we really know them and the long term health side effects of consuming food with such preservatives?
Generally, preservatives are widely used in the food industry to extend the shelf life of food. Infused with preservatives, food can last much longer without going mouldy or becoming infested with bugs or bacteria and because of this, can be kept ‘fresh’ for years.
Unfortunately, the chemical characteristics that make preservatives effective in killing bacteria and other organisms in food can affect our health. We explore 3 common types of such preservatives – Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites, Nitrates and Benzoates and their side effects on human.
– to prevent vegtables and fruits from turning brown after they have been peeled. Even in French Fries (found in those fast food joints) where the potatoes for the fries has peeled and hand cut.
– to prevent yeast and bacterial growth in food.
– to stop oil and fats from turning rancid (this extends their shelf life).
– stop wine from turning to vinegar and preserving the wine’s colour.
– as bleaching agent to bleach flour and food starches.
– to sterilise equipment and food containers in food factories and breweries.
– Sulphites can cause severe dizziness, irregular breathing, asthma attacks, stomach problems, nervous irritability, blurred vision, breathlessness. Besides this, it can also reduce Vitamin B1 levels in people with vitmain deficiency.
– Sulphur Dioxide is linked to cases of mutations and cancer.
– in luncheon meat, bacon, ham, cured meat, sausages, frankfurters, hot dogs, corned beaf , etc as nitrites give ham, hot dogs and bacon a pinkish colour (without which they will exhibit a dull grey exterior).
– when ingested, coverts in the body to a highly toxic substance which causes headaches, dizziness and breathing difficulties
– when combined with other chemical in the stomach, can form nitrosamines, a most potent form of cancer agent!
– when eating food containing high amount of nitrites, down it with drinks or other food with high Vitmain C at the same time as this will protect us against the cancer causing effects.
– Never give kids or infants food that contain nitrites as these young children are highly susceptible to the toxic effects of nitrites.
– to stop bacteria, fungi and yeast from growing in processed food such as carbonated drinks, sauces, toppings, jam, margarine, figs, coconut milk, concentrated tomato juice, pickles, etc
– affects the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines
– enhances the actions of carcinogens in the body
– causes asthma, gastric irritation, allergies, skin reactions, hyperactivity and migraine