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Chemicals In A Can: How Deadly Is Your Favorite De Lata?

Tastes good, lasts long. How it's able to do both is not the work of magic, but chemicals. And they're making you sick
by Mikey Agulto | Sep 5, 2016
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Can't cook? Open a can.

Every bit and piece of chow stuffed inside it is instant nourishment: the taste of Spam; those extra chunky corned beef; Spanish sardines swimming in fish oil; charming little bundles of Vienna sausages; even the fizzling spirit of a soda can.

So good and easy it is we can have it for breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, and pulutan. And yet something so simple as salt couldn't be responsible for all that goodness, could it?

No, it couldn't be. A host of other chemicals are responsible for that—most of which you have to wonder why you're ingesting at all. And the ingredients are...

1) Artificial Flavorings, Coloring, and Sweeteners

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These are mostly cheap chemical mixtures—highly processed, chemically derived, zero calorie sweeteners—that mimic natural flavors and are made of coal-tar derivatives to enhance food color. Relatively speaking, said ingredients allow the goods to look edible. While universally recognized to be safe, substantial amounts can lead to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity, asthma, and, in some cases, even cancer.

2) Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is a mixture of compounds that preserve fats, which in turn prevents canned goods from becoming stale in the long run. Vital as it may be to preservation, sodium benzoate, when mixed with artificial coloring, can trigger a hyperactive behavior. A recent study also says that sodium benzoate itself can damage and deactivate vital parts of the DNA in a cell's mitochondria (the cell's source of energy), which may lead to apoptosis or cell damage.


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Acronym for High Fructose Corn Syrup. HFCS is oftentimes used as a cheaper alternative to traditional sweeteners such as cane and beat sugar—with canned beer being the best example. Said ingredient is treacherous to an extent, since excessive fructose in the body can allegedly result to obesity and elevated LDL cholesterol (or bad cholesterol). Our liver also finds the ingredient difficult to metabolize, therefore disrupting our bodily functions.


4) Bisphenol A

Widely considered as the most hazardous among the bunch, Bisphenol A or BPA is used to extend shelf life of canned goods. Although the US Food and Drug Administration continues to evaluate BPA safety, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants are strongly advised to steer clear of canned goods since high BPA consumption can lead to abnormal brain development. This is easier said than done, though; approximately 90 percent of all canned products have BPA in it.

5) Brominated Vegetable Oil

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These are chemicals that maintain the density of the oil and sustain the suspension of flavorings in many canned citric-based fruits and soft drinks. Simply put, it makes your cola in can appear fresh and drinkable. It however has the tendency to increase triglycerides (a fatty acid) and cholesterol, which can lead to heart diseases and liver failure. Cases of memory loss, tremors, and headaches have also been associated with daily and continuous consumption of BVO.

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6) Phthalates

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a kind of plastic that is found in the inside lining of nearly all canned foods. Phthalates in turn plasticizes the PVC to make it softer and flexible. It's also used in a large variety of goods, from coatings of pharmaceutical capsules to cosmetic products. But Phthalates has the tendency to leach and evaporate into food or the atmosphere as time passes. Massive doses could potentially result to hindrance in brain development and even breast cancer. Some studies have also credited this substance as a source of obesity and ADHD.

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