Become a Preservative Pro for your family. Know what Preservatives do to your body!
Let’s admit: We’ve all popped chips or cookies into our mouths without taking a good look at what exactly we’re putting in our bodies.
Years back, when I started peeking at the nutrition label on the back of my afternoon snack, I was astonished to see I couldn’t even pronounce half of the ingredients listed! From aspartame to sulfur dioxide (our ancestors would faint just hearing them!). And given the quantities of processed food that we consume in today’s lifestyle, these chemicals can doze up sizably and we owe it to our bodies to know what we are assaulting them with!
What are preservatives?
Preservatives are a good thing for food manufacturers because products can be made, shipped and stored until purchase without going bad, meaning they don’t lose money from spoiled food. These chemical compounds, however, can have many undesirable side effects in your body. Read on to know some of the preservatives to keep an eye out for.
- Sulfites: These preservatives are used to stop the browning and discoloration of food and are usually found in dry fruits, canned fruits, corn syrup, pepper, wine and vinegar. These compounds lead to varied side effects like palpitations, allergic reactions like asthma and rhinitis. Sulfites also induce joint pain and headache.
- Sodium Benzoate: This preservative helps stop the fermentation or acidification of foods and can be found in sodas and many fruit juices. Researchers believe that when sodium benzoate is mixed with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid mentioned above) it can create benzene, a known carcinogen (cancer causing). Yes you read that right.
- Nitrite: This preservative is often found in meats and is responsible for giving hot dogs their red coloring. The American Cancer Society recommends people lessen their consumption of processed meats to avoid consumption of nitrites, which have even been linked to some types of cancer.
- Bromates: This is the most commonly used preservative in white flour and bread. It can induce diarrhea and destroys nutrients.
- Mono-Glycerides And Di-Glycerides: These chemicals are usually used to preserve foods like cakes, pies, cookies, bread, peanut butter and other snacks. Mono and Di-Glycerides also help preserve other foods like roasted nuts, veggies packed with sauce and even margarine. Monoglycerides regularly feature on the list of bad or unhealthy fats.
- BHT and BHA: Butylated hydroxyanisole or BHA is used to keep foods from going rancid and is often added to high-fat foods, like butter, meat and baked goods, as well as cereals, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, beer and chewing gum. Butylated Hydroxytoluene or BHT keeps foods from changing flavor and color and helps prevent them from developing an odor. Large doses of BHA and BHT have been shown to promote the growth of tumors in lab animals, according to some studies.
Traumatized? Action plan now?
Here are three easy tips to keep in mind while trolling the grocery store aisles to ensure a preservative-free shopping experience.
- Go fresh: Fresh produce are less likely to contain preservatives and other additives. Stay away from pre-packaged, over-processed foods as much as possible.
- Opt for organic: Organic-certified food products are free of harmful preservatives. If all-organic isn’t your thing, look for packaging that indicates the contents are preservative-free.
- Choose natural products: When purchasing processed foods and snacks, look for those labelled as “Preservative Free” and “Natural”. While the USDA doesn’t have a very strict definition of the “natural” labeling, these products are generally free of any artificial additives, dyes, or flavors.
But I would still check the ingredient list before buying!
Yoga Superfuel: Against preservatives and all things nasty!
Ofcourse we don’t use any preservatives, additives or any nasties at all in our cookies. You can count on that one. Even the baking powder we use, we ensure it is aluminium free. Yep most store bought baking powder have aluminium in it!
Wondering how we still manage to get our shelf life of 6 months? That’s because our cookies which are 100% handmade, are immediately sealed in recyclable aluminium foils and nitrogen flushed. Unlike oxygen, nitrogen doesn’t react with food, so they stay fresher longer. And no worries about the nitrogen gas. It’s completely safe. In fact, you’re exposed to nitrogen constantly because it makes up about 70 percent of the air you breathe!