Sodium Benzoate Review

Sodium Benzoate

by George Pierce
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What is Sodium Benzoate?

Sodium Benzoate is a food additive that is used as a preservative.  You will find Sodium Benzoate in beverages, various foods, and condiments.   Acidic products such as jellies, jams, and sauerkraut, as well as hot sauce and sodas are the most likely to have sodium Benzoate.  Some manufacturers add Sodium Benzoate to health products and beauty products such as shampoo, mouthwash, deodorant , and body lotions, in order to prevent bacteria.  Over-the-counter and prescription drugs such as cough syrups, pills, and topical medications may also  contain sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is a sodium salt.  It does occur in nature in very low levels.  Examples of foods with these natural low levels are cinnamon, apples, plums, and berries.

benzene c6h6

Is it safe?

Doses of Sodium Benzoate that are used in foods and beverage are so low that they are considered to be safe.   The FDA and the Canadian Health Protection Branch have both classified it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).   

A few people may be hypersensitive to this preservative, which may produce hives, asthmatic attacks, and other reactions.  

The real problem is that Sodium Benzoate can mix with citric acid or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and form benzene.  Benzene is considered to be carcinogenic or cancer producing and has been associated with leukemia and  other blood cancers.  From 2005-2007, the FDA conducted a study of fruit beverages and carbonated beverages that contained sodium Benzoate and vitamin C.  Most beverages were found to have too low of a level to cause problems.  Those that failed were reformulated.  

Benzoate has been found to have some medicinal uses such as halting the progression of Parkinson's disease in mice,  as an aid for schitzophrenia, and to treat hyperammonemia (excess ammonia in the blood)..

smile girl with apple

My opinion:

My overall position on added chemicals, manufactured food additives, in general, is that food ingredients that are NOT natural, therefore we should avoid them.   I suggest that you and I take a 'better safe than sorry approach' regarding non-natural food additives.   

TIP for avoiding Benzoate:  

Should you decide to avoid sodium Benzoate, these tips may help.
  • When reading labels, you are looking for benzoic acid, benzene, sodium Benzoate, or Benzoate.  
  • Soft drinks and fruit drinks are the most common products that use Benzoate.
  • Fruity soft drinks often contain Benzoate, yet, Sprite does not.  
  • Benzoic acid is a preservative so be especially careful with foods and beverages that need extra shelf life.
  • Eat fresh whole foods, avoid processed foods and pre-packaged foods.
  • Opt for foods with natural preservatives such as salt, vinegar, citric acid, and sugar, but be careful of high levels of salt or sugar.
  • Do not eat processed or cured meats.
  • Make your own baked goods such as bread.
  • Eat organic.

Before you make up you mind and for more help on this issue, 
please read:  Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners and 
Five Food Additives You Should Avoid.

My friends, thank you for reading.  I wish you much success on your weight loss journey.
George Pierce
Win At Losing Weight

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