Sodium Benzoate. It is really harmless?

Now that we’ve covered several of the healthier grocery stores in my area we’re back to discussing a common chemical found in many foods. I want to discuss Sodium Benzoate. This preservative also goes by other names such as Potassium Benzoate and Benzoate. This preservative is used in many processed foods such as jams, salad dressing, pickles, relish, fruit juice, margarine, and I even noticed it was in the pimento cheese from The Fresh Market. It’s also used in many medicines like Advil, infant and children’s vitamins, hand soaps, and even “all natural” toothpaste. This chemical is used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. Sounds pretty helpful right? Wrong. This chemical can cause many problems.

Even Children's Advil contains sodium benzoate (along with other harmful ingredients).

Children’s Advil contains sodium benzoate (along with other harmful ingredients).

I noticed at Whole Foods the other day that even the "all natural" Spry toothpaste contains sodium benzoate.

I noticed at Whole Foods the other day that even the “all natural” Spry toothpaste contains sodium benzoate.

According to Sodium Benzoate “has the ability to deprive the cells of oxygen, break down the immune system and cause cancer.” The article goes on to say “While benzoic acid is found naturally in low levels in many fruits, the sodium benzoate listed on a product’s label is synthesized in a lab.”

Sodium benzoate can be very dangerous because when it is combined with or mixed with Vitamins C or E it forms benzene which is a known carcinogen (meaning it causes cancer). How many foods do you know of that do NOT contain any Vitamin C or E? …That’s what I thought. Most soft drinks contain sodium benzoate (go look at the label). Do you know what else they contain? Ascorbic Acid. What is that? You guessed it…Vitamin C. In fact, in 2005 a variety of beverages were found to contain benzene. The companies had to reformulate their drinks.

Can you believe that I also found sodium benzoate in my kids (previous) multi-vitamins. Guess what?! They also contain vitamin C!

Can you believe that I also found sodium benzoate in my kids (previous) multi-vitamins?! Guess what? They also contain vitamins C and E!

Not only can sodium benzoate form cancer causing substances but it has also been reported that it increases hyperactivity in children when combined with certain food colorings. Did you know that most pickles contain sodium benzoate along with Yellow #5? I don’t know about you, but my kids are hyper enough! I didn’t need them to be bouncing off the walls more than they already are! 🙂

The foods that contain sodium benzoate are foods that have an acidic pH. In this post by Food Babe she says that you have to drink 36 glasses of water to re-alkaline your body after drinking only ONE diet soda. She goes on to say, “When your body is in an alkaline state your chances of developing disease is significantly lower than a body in an acidic state. This is because our bodies are made of up of billions of cells that are naturally alkaline according to it’s ph balance. When we consume more acidic foods (i.e. many of Coca-Cola’s low calorie drinks) vs. alkaline foods this upsets the balance and leads to all sorts of trouble for our bodies and the organs that regulate our metabolism and weight.” Interesting, huh?!

So why do companies use this food additive? Well, sodium benzoate is the cheapest mold inhibitor on the market. Why am I not surprised? It’s amazing though that other companies have found ways to have good quality food without the use of this dangerous chemical. Stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell pickles, salad dressing, jams etc. that do NOT contain this preservative (or artificial food dyes). And let me add that the pickles from Trader Joe’s are GREAT. And my kids highly recommend them. 🙂

Pickles and relish from Trader Joe's that do not contain any "nasties."

Pickles and relish from Trader Joe’s that do not contain any “nasties.”

I linked to this article above in my post but wanted to post it again as I found it very helpful:

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6 Responses to Sodium Benzoate. It is really harmless?

  1. Pingback: Calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate. Huh? | knowwhatUReating

  2. Pingback: Whole Foods Body Care Deal | knowwhatUReating

  3. Pingback: FDA Announced Previously Unsafe Benzoate Perservatives Safe

  4. Vic says:

    Benzoic acid and sodium benzoate are not the same. One is an acid, the other is a salt. One is found in food (benzoic acid) the other is not. This is a common error that I’ve found even “experts” make.

    • erindallison says:

      Oh Whoops! Thank you for correcting this! I will fix my error. I try to be as accurate as possible. I believe sodium benzoate is derived from a reaction of benzoic acid and sodium hydroxide. Is this correct? Thank you for commenting!

  5. Pingback: Potassium Sorbate (aka E202) | knowwhatUReating

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