Side effects of Chemical Food Preservatives

The world is slowly turning towards eating foods which are preserved and kept for days together for later use. Some foods may contain natural preservatives like oil, sugar and salt but most of the products are preserved and canned with chemical food preservatives which are very harmful for the body when consumed in very large quantities.

Most of the American canned foods contain these preservatives and they are sold in large quantities in super stores. Some of the chemicals which cause major diseases are nitrates and nitrites, sulphites, BHA and BHT. It is noted through research by various institutions, hospitals and research centers worldwide, that these chemical preservatives interact with the food, causing them to get spoilt.

Many of us are unaware of the side effects of chemical food preservatives. These prevent bacteria from entering the foods but spoil the food with chemical reactions between acids in the stomach and the chemicals in the preservatives. We eat such foods and hence fall prey to various life taking diseases.

7 Side effects of chemical food preservatives:

1. Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and Parkinson’s diseases due to nitrites and nitrates


The major cause of these diseases is the intake of nitrates and nitrites from processed and preserved food. Nitrates are taken in, in high quantities through the preserved foods and hence a notable increase in Diabetes and Alzheimer’s is seen in the world.

When nitrites and nitrates are heated and come in contact with some acids they turn into nitrosamines which are harmful for the body. These nitrosamines are the reason for a person to age, acquire diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. A research proved that more than genetics these nitrates and nitrites caused these diseases in humans.

2. Cancer due to nitrites and nitrates

Processed and preserved foods are treated with nitrates and nitrites from a chemical preservative. These two things help to keep bacteria away from a food substance. However when these two elements come in contact with the high acidic levels in the stomach or due to high heat while cooking, they convert to nitrosamines.

These are the culprits which have proven to have increased cancer in people. Cancer of the stomach, liver, pancreas, brain tumor and leukemia can be caused due to the nitrosamines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also recommends the less use of preservatives which contain nitrates and nitrites which cause cancer.

They have agreed on the research which shows and proves that these two compounds cause cancer in humans. The World Cancer Research Fund in London also recommends that processed meat should be avoided and should not be eaten in large quantities to prevent cancer.

3. Hormone issues and Hyperactivity due to BHT and BHA

hyperactivity in children

Another two products, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are known to be used to preserve foods used during breakfast. Cereals, dressings for salads, candies and sweets and crackers are known to be preserved with the help of these two chemicals. These two chemical compounds are known to have increased hyperactivity in children which harms their growth and tires them out as per the research conducted by International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Research by the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has proved that an increased intake of these two chemicals through preserved foods is very harmful for children and can cause diseases like cancer. It is also known to have meddled with hormones and hence causing hormonal issues in humans.

4. Asthma and Allergies due to sulphites

Many preservation techniques use sulphites in preserving some food products. This chemical is used in preserving meat, dry fruits, wines and many juices which claim to be natural. Vegetables and dry fruits turn bad and look brown when not preserved hence sulpites are used in preventing them from turning brown. It is found that these sulphites cause allergic reactions in people and especially those who suffer from Asthma.

The allergies cause vomiting, headache, increase in heart beat and even swollen throat. The US Food and Drug Administration have stopped preservation companies from using sulphites as a preservation agent.No fresh foods are allowed to be preserved with the help of preservatives which contain sulphites.

5. Damage to the heart:

Erratic heart rythm

Studies with heart tissues released by InChem showed that food preservatives have the potential to weaken heart tissues.  A lab study with rats showed higher consumption of chemical food preservatives resulted in highest levels of heart damage over time.

6. Diabetes and weight gain due to corn syrup:

High fructose corn syrup is a common food sweetener used in soda, juices, breakfast cereals, snacks and candies. Studies have shown links with high consumption of corn syrup with diabetes and weight gain. This only adds empty calories without contributing to the vitamin and mineral requirement of our body.

7. Headaches from artificial sweeteners:


Aspartame is the commonly used artificial sweetener that helps in checking blood glucose levels and body weight to some extent. It is, however, a good replacement for sugar. But over consumption may cause headaches.

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