Are Food Preservatives Really Bad For Your Health or Not?

Food Preservatives….we’ve ALL seen the infamous pictures….a 3 month old McDonald’s Fries and Hamburger looking virtually untouched because of all the food preservatives it contains.

food preservatives

I was a little surprised when my sister made the comment, “wow, if food preservatives make these look good after 100 days, does that mean if I eat more food preservatives…it will preserve me”? There are times when my sister tends to say out loud what she’s thinking. And most of them time, it’s stuff that many others are probably wondering the same thing.  :)

Are there people out there that actually think food preservatives are good for you?

Just so we’re on the same page, food preservatives are a type of food additive “added” to food to prolong the shelf life to keep their components from breaking down (IE., keep it edible).

Mold, bacteria, , yeast and even the air we breathe (gasp!) can cause food spoilage.

So what food preservatives are safe and what are bad?

food preservatives rotten apple fresh apple


Ascorbic Acid: Yes, the name SOUNDS bad….but actually it is food preservatives in the form of vitamin C and found naturally in fruits & veggies. This is an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals . It is approved by the FDA and is found all over the grocery store. If you see it on a food label, it is GOOD, not bad.

Aspartame: Now don’t get your tighty whiteys all in a skivvy over this. Aspartame is a very common sweetener that is 220 x’s sweeter than sugar. It’s also known as Equal (the little blue packets) and NutraSweet (the little pink packets). I know there are (quote, unquote) “studies” and rumors circulating that link aspartame to cancer but I think the food preservatives on the QUESTIONABLE list deserve more attention….and the FDA has continuously approved it’s safety after research after research.

Taurine: Taurine falls in the food preservatives list as a substance that helps maintain water and electrolyte balance in the blood. You may find it in many of those quick shot “energy drinks”… You will also find it in meat, fish & breast milk. Up to 3,000 milligrams of taurine per day is considered safe…but even those energy drink that contain up to 4,000 milligrams can’t be blamed for adverse effects on the body.

Nisin: This is a food preservative used mainly for it’s anti-bacterial properties used in meats, cheeses, liquid eggs, and salad dressing. It is natural for food preservatives and considered safe to eat.


Sulfites: Besides causing my nose to become stuffy :) … These food preservatives are used to stop the browning and discoloration of food….and some have been linked to asthma-related sensitivity and food-related allergies.

Sodium Benzoates: These food preservatives helps stop the fermentation of food and can be found in many sodas and fruit juices. Research shows that when mixed with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, one of the good food preservatives)…. it can create “BENZENE”, a known carcinogen! Even still, you’d have to drink gallons to have an adverse effect.

Nitrites: These food preservatives are found in processed meats to give it their healthy-looking red coloring. Especially hot dogs…eww! The American Cancer Society even recommends people lessen their consumption of processed meats to avoid consumption of nitrites, which HAVE been linked to some types of cancers.

BHA/BHT: Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene are food preservatives that preserve the fats and oils in food and even cosmetics. Even though the FDA has recognized BHA & BHT as GRAS (Generally recognized as Safe) food preservatives, other research by the National Toxicology Program has concluded that BHA has the potential to be a carcinogen. Also, BHT has been linked to both increased & decreased risk of cancer in a number of studies.

Interesting Fact: BHT is also used to treat some types of herpes and AIDS.

Want MORE info on other preservatives and their possibilities? Here is a complete list of food additives.

Traumatized yet? Here are three easy tips to keep in mind while trolling for ways to ensure a preservative-free shopping experience:

  • opt for organic: USDA organic-certified food products are guaranteed to be free of potentially harmful food preservatives. Unfortunately, if you do start to opt for organic, you will notice your fruits & veggies decomposing faster. The shelf life is very short….you will have to consume them faster or they will go bad.
  • opt for frozen: Frozen produce are less likely to contain preservatives and additives. There is a limited shelf life on frozen items but at least it’s longer than organic.
  • opt for freeze-dried: Yep, that’s right! Did you know that the American Cancer Society says the NEXT BEST THING to eating fresh fruits & veggies right from the garden is consuming freeze-dried? The freeze-drying method is a NATURAL preservation method that greatly extend the shelf-life (some as long as 30 years and 2 years when opened) of fruits, veggies, some dairy products & even meats! Best part of all, research has shown almost all the vitamins & minerals are preserved. All you do is “reconstitute” by adding a little bit of moisture.

Not all freeze-dried fruits, veggies, dairy items & meats are the same.  Thrive Foods from Shelf Reliance is one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S. for several reasons…and one of them being quality and taste.

food preservatives

Thrive’s foods are PREMIUM quality and absolutely delicious.  With an extended shelf life,it just makes sense to consider adding freeze dried foods to your own home pantry.

Plus, check out all the recipes you can make with Thrive ingredients!  It makes preparation so much easier and you have much less wasted food. I have added so many Thrive ingredients to my food pantry and it has made my life SO much easier!

And lastly, check out the latest Thrive Specials and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!



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