Here’s a quick science lesson for all of you that flunked chemistry– in fact, it’s a quick lesson that you can take with you and aid your health in doing so. If you don’t know, sodium is the chemical element name for salt. This word is sure to appear on almost every single label of any food item that you purchase from here on out. Knowing that can actually help you better understand just what kind of, and how much, salt is in the food you’re eating.
The food label is a blessing and a curse in the United States. This is because the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has put strict regulations on the things that are allowed to enter foods, but there are also a number of loopholes that food companies seem to find every time. This being said, the chances of you seeing the words sodium bisulfite on a nutritional label are quite high. The chances of knowing what that means on the other hand, are much lower. You may think because of the information you just acquired, that sodium bisulfite makes up the salt portion of the food you’re purchasing. Well, you’re about to find out that this would be an incorrect assumption.
Sodium bisulfite is a man-made food additive that generally contains more sulfur than sodium. The name of this compound isn’t so great at revealing its true colors, and because of this, many consumers can easily confuse the nutritional facts of foods that contain sodium bisulfite. The additive is placed in popular foods like dried fruits and trail mix. One of this compound’s stranger uses is as a bleaching element during the manufacturing of processed foods.
Sodium bisulfite is comprised of a combination of sodium, hydrogen, sulfur and oxygen. It is sometimes also listed on nutrition labels as sodium hydrogen sulfate. It comes in a naturally white crystal form, with the consistency and look of salt, but is corrosive and very acidic. Ingesting high amounts of this can cause erosion of the stomach and is often the prime reason for the development of ulcers.
This additive is also used in foods as a way to preserve coloring and fend off bacteria growth in fruits, veggies, and some types of alcohol. It is used frequently by manufacturers because it helps to stop the erosion of Vitamin C; this means that the nutritional value of food stays high for longer.
Luckily, as it is being used more and more in popular food items, it is being better regulated by the FDA. More manufacturers are using trace amounts in their products now as to keep them safer to consume.
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.