HomeHealthHow are Food Preservatives Harmful : Understanding Side Effects

How are Food Preservatives Harmful : Understanding Side Effects

Food contamination has increased to a completely new degree. Even fresh fruits and vegetables are laced with pesticides and preservatives to maintain their flavor, freshness, and color. It is crucial to stay away from junk food due to the rising overuse of chemicals and food preservatives.

The food industry has grown as a result of an active lifestyle and growing industrialization, expanding the selection of processed meals found in supermarkets. Everything, from cold cuts to frozen potato wedges, is loaded with harmful food additives that wreak havoc on your health.

Doctors and other medical professionals have been warning the public about the negative consequences of food additives and preservatives for a long time. However, it can be challenging (and frankly overwhelming) to try to avoid them if you don’t know what to look for.

So that it’s a little bit simpler, we’ve explained what food preservatives are and why you should avoid them.

What are Food Preservatives?

Preservatives are chemicals that are applied to food or food products to stop bacterial, moldy, fungal and yeast-based spoiling. As a result, food preservatives help to prolong the shelf life of food, keeping it fresher for longer.

You can now readily discover a food item made in a distant location and available at your neighborhood grocery store because of increased globalization and transportation efficiency. Preservatives will ensure that it is delivered to the client exactly as it was meant to be at the time of manufacture, even though the delivery may take a few days or weeks. Preservatives help in preserving the taste and flavor of food for a longer period of time, but consuming too much can lead to a number of health problems. 

Types of Food Preservatives:

The two most common forms of preservatives are:

1. Natural Preservatives:

Some preservatives don’t combine with artificial substances or utilize chemicals to change their composition. These preservatives’ antioxidant qualities prevent food from oxidizing or deteriorating too quickly. Some of the naturally occurring preservatives include salt, sugar, and oil. This is how the oil and salt mix gives pickles their long shelf life. Some natural food preservation techniques include fermentation, freezing, and curing.

2. Artificial Preservatives:

These preservatives are synthetic in origin and artificially created. Labels on food goods that include artificial preservatives read “additive.” Artificial preservatives are prevalent in jams, various spreads, packed juices, ketchup, and baked goods. This is the reason why you should carefully read the food label before making a purchase.

Side Effects of Preservatives:

These may include:

1. Heart conditions:

The prevalence of cardiovascular diseases has increased, and one of the key contributing factors to the rise in heart problems is the usage of preservatives in food products. Food preservatives may impair the heart tissues, according to some research. Consuming foods that still have preservative residue on their surface increases the risk of developing heart disease.

2. Breathing problems:

The likelihood of respiratory issues is further increased by the preservatives and chemicals included in food products. According to a study, cutting out preservative-containing items from the diet can assist to lessen the severity of breathing issues and asthma symptoms as well as their symptoms. Aspartame, sulfites, and benzoates are a few of the dietary preservatives that exacerbate respiratory issues.

3. Hyperactivity:

In order to prevent food contamination and decomposition, the majority of packaged food businesses add artificial preservatives. Artificial preservatives can result in major health risks like hyperactivity, neurological damage, and hypersensitivity. Some examples are nitrates, benzoates, sulfites, sorbates, parabens, formaldehyde, BHT, and BHA.

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4. Hormones:

The endocrine system, which controls hormone production, and your child’s neurological development are two additional adverse effects of food preservatives. Since the endocrine system regulates hormones and growth, if additives have an impact on testosterone or estrogen, they may also have an impact on puberty development.

It is crucial to ensure that every bite your child takes is adding nourishment and not depleting their body in any way because dietary choices have a direct impact on hormone levels in the body. Additionally, hormone imbalance is a problem that plagues many kids nowadays, and consuming too many packaged, prepared, and processed foods are one of the main causes.

5. Cancer:

The tendency of preservatives to turn into carcinogens is one of the most detrimental effects they have on food products. Nitrosamines, a preservative comprising nitrites and nitrates that combine with gastric acids to generate cancer-causing chemicals, are present in several food products. Avoid eating snacks or meals that are high in nitrites and nitrates if you want to avoid eating these preservatives.

What to Do Instead:

We are aware that preservatives cannot be totally avoided because they are present everywhere. Young children should consume fewer processed types of meat and more fresh and frozen produce, according to parents.

Other recommendations include:

  • Eat less processed food.
  • Learn what is in the food you buy by reading the labels.
  • Shop at farmers’ markets or join up for fresh produce deliveries through community-supported agriculture.
  • Avoid pre-packaged, pre-cooked foods and make the majority of your meals.


There are many food additives that can be safely ingested as part of a healthy diet, even if some of them have been connected to some rather alarming negative effects.

To take charge of your nutrition and learn what is actually added to your favorite foods, start reading the ingredient labels before you go grocery shopping.

To learn more about these preventive measures’ unique impacts on your digestive system and how to avoid them, speak with your doctor.


1. What risks do excessive food additive use pose?

There may be sensitivities to some food additives. Like:

  • Stomach disorders – diarrhea and pains
  • Hyperactivity, sleeplessness, and irritability are symptoms of nervous diseases
  • Respiratory conditions such as sinusitis, rhinitis, and asthma
  • Skin issues include edema, rashes, itching, and hives

2. What happens to food when preservatives and synthetic colors are added?

In addition to preserving the food’s quality, preservatives aid in preventing contamination that could result in foodborne diseases such the potentially fatal botulism. Food is colored to either restore colors lost during preparation or to improve the appearance of the food.

3. What kind of food additive is employed to stop food from spoiling?

In order to stop microbial development that leads to deterioration and to moderate changes in color, texture, and flavor, additives such as sodium benzoate, calcium propionate, and potassium sorbate are used. By preventing mold and yeast growth, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate both stop food from spoiling.

Zeenat Azmi
Zeenat Azmi
I'm a writer with vast experience on various tropics and love to spread my knowledge with my writings. I specially love to write on topics like food, Health, business, travel, fashion, technology, digital marketing, etc.


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