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Monday, February 7, 2011

Why I Avoid Buying Foods With Sodium Benzoate

As promised in my post about the Top 5 Ingredients to Avoid, here is more information on Sodium Benzoate so that you will understand why it doesn’t enter my house.

There have been some health concerns about the combination of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid or vitamin C. When the two are mixed, they can form the chemical benzene, which is carcinogenic (cancer causing).  However, sodium benzoate on its own is not considered a carcinogen, and you would have to consume a huge amount of it in order to have toxic levels in your body.  In mice studies where the animals were fed sodium benzoate, no adverse effects were reported, and the life expectancies of the mice were not shortened, nor was their health affected in any way.

Sounds convincing, right?  No not really because the research never tested the affect of sodium benzoate combined with Vitamin C on the health of the mice.  That is the real kicker.  That is what forms benzene which is carcinogenic.  What does carcinogenic mean?  Plainly, cancer causing.  It has also been known to destroy the DNA of the mitochondria in your cells.  Your mitochondria are also known as the ‘power centers’ of your cells.  This can lead to a number of neuro-degenerative diseases (including Parkinson’s).

Now, I suppose if you know without a shadow of a doubt that whatever you are buying with sodium benzoate does not also have Vitamin C in it, then maybe you could consider buying it.  Part of the problem is that most of the time (if not every time) I have seen it on an ingredient list, that product also contains Vitamin C, either naturally occurring or added.

I’m sure there is a lot more information out there about sodium benzoate.   Please do the research yourself to see if it is something you would consider eliminating from the ingredients you bring into your house.

In the end, when I am choosing what to buy at the store that is prepackaged I like to err on the side of caution.   If the ingredient doesn’t sound natural to me or if I’ve never heard of it, I won’t buy the product.   I will sometimes look it up when I get home, too. Then, I know if I can buy the product next shopping trip.  Generally, if I’m buying something prepackaged it’s not a necessity anyway, so it can wait.

I hope this helps you.   Check back tomorrow for the next ingredient on my list and why I avoid it.

**** Note: Upon further research, it appears that any ingredient that contains the word benzoate, is a potential threat to your health.  (Thank you Robert for asking me the question to prompt the research!)****

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