Delete This Additive

By Kyle Bradley

Next time you crave a frozen pizza, scan the ingredients first for compounds known as inorganic phosphates (Pi). Common in packaged foods, these additives, which manufacturers use to retain water and improve texture, can harm your lungs, brain, liver, and teeth when eaten regularly—and may also cause or aggravate ADD/ADHD in your children. Inorganic phosphates appear on ingredient lists as sodium, potassium, calcium, ammonium, and magnesium phosphates, and as sodium carbonate, aluminum sodium sulfate, calcium hydroxide, and potassium chloride. Researchers from Korea’s Seoul National University recently confirmed the link between Pi and cancer in mice. A controlled diet containing Pi caused existing lung tumors to grow more rapidly by interfering with cell signaling and increasing cancer cell proliferation. In the 1990s, American adults ate roughly 470 mg of phosphorous-containing food additives a day; today, that number is closer to 1,000 mg.

Shop smart by foregoing packaged meats such as ham, bacon, chicken, and pork that have Pi on the ingredient list, as well as carbonated drinks, candy, biscuits, cookies, condiments, spreadable cheeses, and baking powder.