Is Sodium Benzoate Bad For You? The Dangers Of This Artificial Preservative

Is sodium benzoate bad for you? This is a natural salt that appears naturally in some foods. However, it’s also used as an artificial preservative that’s found in various foods, cosmetics, and medicines on the market.

Sodium Benzoate

Is sodium benzoate bad for you? The answer is more complicated than it might seem at first. Some foods are natural sources of chemical compounds, which are healthy sources. Meanwhile, sodium benzoate is also sometimes used as an artificial preservative. It can be added to food but is also included, in other products like dyes, cosmetics, and prescription medicines. Since these are all synthetic uses of the compound, in theory, they could cause health issues. So it’s critical to know the possible side-effects you could experience when consuming or contacting synthetic versions of sodium benzoate.

In recent years, low-carb diets like Keto and Atkins have been trending. The main goal of these diets is to consume foods/ingredients that are low in carbohydrates. However, another factor is how natural/organic certain foods are. For example, the Paleo diet takes a different approach and focuses on whole foods and minimally-processed foods. Various artificial ingredients also aren’t allowed because of their nutritional value. This helps to explain why it’s important to know not only whether a certain food is natural/organic but also whether or not it’s healthy. It’s an entirely another issue to take up in determining how healthy artificial additives are.  

What in the World Is Sodium Benzoate?

This is the first major issue to take up. This is a kind of sodium salt that exists in some foods naturally. However, it’s also used today in various preservatives. That includes food preservatives and other products like pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

It’s also added to various highly-processed foods like sodas, fruit juices, and vinegar. Sodium benzoate is also used in wines and salad dressings. There are question marks about whether or not this food is healthy.

The main issue seems to be the amount of the substance that people consume. When it’s a low amount it’s safe to consume. However, one problem is when the compound is combined with ascorbic acid. In that case, it becomes a chemical that’s believed to be cancer-causing.

This substance exists in low levels naturally in certain foods. They include apples, berries, plums, and cranberries. IT’s also in some spices like cinnamon and cloves. People experience different tastes when they consume food as a chemical preservative. They include salty, bitter, or sour. Sometimes it tastes sweet.

When added to food/drink the main product it’s added to is sodas. The chemical compound isn’t classified as toxic by itself. It also doesn’t cause any health issues in those situations.

However, it’s also used for other products like cosmetic products. They include toothpaste, mouthwash, lotion, shampoo, and lotion. It’s often added to prevent bacteria from growing in these everyday products.

Sodium benzoate is also added to other products like ointments, syrups, and pills. Another use of the substance is in metal cans to prevent rusting. There are also various industrial uses of the chemical compound.

It’s worth noting that there are some possible health concerns that some scientists have about this substance. It’s especially the case when it’s added as a food preservative and for other uses like medicines and cosmetics.

Is Sodium Benzoate Bad for You?

It’s reasonable that many people are concerned about any chemical additives in products like food. Some studies have shown red flags about the safety of sodium benzoate. However, it’s not clear how unhealthy it is so more research is needed. Here are some possible health issues:


Some people could get allergic reactions after consuming food with sodium benzoate. They include swelling and itching.


Some studies show that the chemical compound can trigger inflammation in animal bodies. It is related to the amount of the substance that’s consumed. This includes inflammation that could increase cancer risk.

Appetite control

Some studies involving fat cells from mice showed that exposure to the chemical compound lowered the body’s release of a hormone for appetite control. The increase was up to 70% and was related to how much of the substance they were exposed to.


Sodium benzoate could convert into a cancer-causing substance. The fancy term for this is a “carcinogen.” The substance benzene can attach to beverages like sodas that contain Vitamin C and benzoate.

This process is more likely to happen with diet sodas. The reason is that the sugar added to fruit drinks and regular sodas could slow down the formation. Other factors might be involved including light, heat, and storage periods. These can all boost benzene levels and increase the risk of cancer.

In 2005 the USA’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) found 10/200 sodas had more than the legal limit of benzene from drinking water. This shows that some sodas could be unhealthy to drink for other reasons besides sugar, carbonated water, etc.

More research is needed to find out if there’s a link between long-term intake of low-level benzene and higher cancer risk.


One study of college studies connected ADHD with large intakes of beverages with sodium benzoate. Some studies also connect the substance to ADHD in kids.  

Natural Sources of Sodium Benzoate


You can also find this substance in various dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. These are all healthy sources of food. Dairy products are high in nutrients like protein, healthy fat, and vitamins/minerals. Yogurt is also high in probiotics, which are “good” germs.

Fruits (non-berries)

You can also find the substance in other fruits besides berries. They include plums and apples. These are superfoods because they’re loaded with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Apples are especially healthy and there’s even the saying that they can “keep the doctor away.” The superfood is loaded with nutrients like Vitamin C, fiber, and others. It’s highly recommended to consume apples regularly.


There are some sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves that contain the chemical compound. These are also healthy sources of the stuff, so they’re not unhealthy to consume because of the chemical compound. So you should consider consuming them.


Sources include shrimp and prawns. These are healthy foods for various reasons. They’re loaded with protein, healthy fats, and lots of vitamins/minerals. Shellfish and fish, in general, are considered good alternatives to red meat like beef and pork. This is another source of sodium benzoate, but it’s a good source.

Besides shellfish, it’s also a good idea to increase your intake of fatty fish. Options like tuna, salmon, herring, trout, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are “good” fat sources.


The chemical compound is found in various berries, including cranberries. This is a healthy berry that’s very high in antioxidants. It’s also a natural source of this chemical compound, so it’s certainly safe to consume this type of food. The substance is also found in other kinds of berries after learning is sodium benzoate bad for you

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