Phosphate Additives in Meat Purge & Cola

Phosphate Additives in Meat Purge & Cola
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The consumption of phosphorus preservatives in junk food, and injected into meat, may damage blood vessels, accelerate the aging process, and contribute to osteoporosis.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In my video, Treating Kidney Failure through Diet, I profiled research suggesting that the use of plant-based diets may be helpful for patients with kidney failure, because “control of dietary phosphorus intake is the lynchpin in the successful control” of a leading cause of disease and death in kidney failure patients: too much phosphorous in the blood.

But now, we’re beginning to realize that absorbing too much phosphorus isn’t good for anyone. Having high levels in our blood “has…been found to be an independent predictor of [heart attacks] and mortality in the general population”—increasing the risk of not only kidney failure, but heart failure, heart attacks, coronary death, and overall death. Higher phosphate levels associated with a significantly shorter lifespan.

Dietary intake of phosphate is an important matter not just for persons with kidney disease, but for everybody. It’s thought to cause damage to blood vessels, and accelerate the aging process—even potentially hurting our bones, contributing to osteoporosis by disrupting hormonal regulation.

The estimated average requirement of phosphorus is less than 600 a day, but the estimated average intake is nearly twice that in the United States. How do we stay away from the stuff? If you look at nutrient tables, it looks like many plant foods have as much phosphorus as many animal foods. So, why are plant-based diets so effective in treating kidney failure patients? Because most of the phosphorus in plant foods is found in the form of phytic acid, which we don’t digest. So, the bioavailability of plant phosphates is usually less than 50%. See, only a third to a half of plant phosphorus may be absorbable, whereas most animal products are all up around 75%.

So, when you adjust for how much actually gets into our system, you see plant foods are better. It’s like the absorption of heme and non-heme iron; our body can protect itself from absorbing too much plant-based iron, but can’t stop excess blood-based, or heme iron from animals, slipping through the intestinal wall.

The worst kind of phosphorus, absorbed nearly 100%, are phosphate additives added, for example, to cola drinks. Why would they do that? Otherwise, cola drinks would be black. Without the added phosphate, there would be so many glycotoxins produced that the beverage would turn “pitch-black. Thus, cola drinks owe their brown color to phosphate.”

“Phosphate additives play an especially important role in the meat industry, where [they’re] used as preservatives” for the same reason: “to enhance a meat product’s color.” Just like the dairy industry adds aluminum to cheese, meat and poultry is “enhanced” by injecting it with phosphates. If you look at meat industry trade journals, and can get past all the macabre ads for head-dropping robots for the kill floor, and foot chopper-offers, you’ll see all these ads for injection machines. Why? Because of increased profitability. Enhanced meats have better color, and “less purge.”

“Purge is a term used to describe the liquid that [seeps from flesh] as it ages. Many consumers find this unattractive,” so the industry views it as a win-win. When you inject chicken with phosphates, “[t]he consumer benefits through the perception of enhanced quality, and, the processor benefits from increased” yield—because they just pumped it up with water, and they sell it by the pound. The problem is that it can boost phosphorus levels in meat nearly 70%—a real and “insidious” danger for kidney patients. But, now we know it’s a danger for all.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to FotoDawg and HPZ via flickr; Mogens EngelundAndrew LihJina LeeSanjay AcharyaJustincPingpongwillZerohundSalimfadhleyH PadleckasHeqsMattysc, and Rainer Zenz via Wikimedia; and Renee Comet at National Cancer Institute. Thanks to Maxim Fetissenko, PhD, and Laurie-Marie Pisciotta for their Keynote wizardry!

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In my video, Treating Kidney Failure through Diet, I profiled research suggesting that the use of plant-based diets may be helpful for patients with kidney failure, because “control of dietary phosphorus intake is the lynchpin in the successful control” of a leading cause of disease and death in kidney failure patients: too much phosphorous in the blood.

But now, we’re beginning to realize that absorbing too much phosphorus isn’t good for anyone. Having high levels in our blood “has…been found to be an independent predictor of [heart attacks] and mortality in the general population”—increasing the risk of not only kidney failure, but heart failure, heart attacks, coronary death, and overall death. Higher phosphate levels associated with a significantly shorter lifespan.

Dietary intake of phosphate is an important matter not just for persons with kidney disease, but for everybody. It’s thought to cause damage to blood vessels, and accelerate the aging process—even potentially hurting our bones, contributing to osteoporosis by disrupting hormonal regulation.

The estimated average requirement of phosphorus is less than 600 a day, but the estimated average intake is nearly twice that in the United States. How do we stay away from the stuff? If you look at nutrient tables, it looks like many plant foods have as much phosphorus as many animal foods. So, why are plant-based diets so effective in treating kidney failure patients? Because most of the phosphorus in plant foods is found in the form of phytic acid, which we don’t digest. So, the bioavailability of plant phosphates is usually less than 50%. See, only a third to a half of plant phosphorus may be absorbable, whereas most animal products are all up around 75%.

So, when you adjust for how much actually gets into our system, you see plant foods are better. It’s like the absorption of heme and non-heme iron; our body can protect itself from absorbing too much plant-based iron, but can’t stop excess blood-based, or heme iron from animals, slipping through the intestinal wall.

The worst kind of phosphorus, absorbed nearly 100%, are phosphate additives added, for example, to cola drinks. Why would they do that? Otherwise, cola drinks would be black. Without the added phosphate, there would be so many glycotoxins produced that the beverage would turn “pitch-black. Thus, cola drinks owe their brown color to phosphate.”

“Phosphate additives play an especially important role in the meat industry, where [they’re] used as preservatives” for the same reason: “to enhance a meat product’s color.” Just like the dairy industry adds aluminum to cheese, meat and poultry is “enhanced” by injecting it with phosphates. If you look at meat industry trade journals, and can get past all the macabre ads for head-dropping robots for the kill floor, and foot chopper-offers, you’ll see all these ads for injection machines. Why? Because of increased profitability. Enhanced meats have better color, and “less purge.”

“Purge is a term used to describe the liquid that [seeps from flesh] as it ages. Many consumers find this unattractive,” so the industry views it as a win-win. When you inject chicken with phosphates, “[t]he consumer benefits through the perception of enhanced quality, and, the processor benefits from increased” yield—because they just pumped it up with water, and they sell it by the pound. The problem is that it can boost phosphorus levels in meat nearly 70%—a real and “insidious” danger for kidney patients. But, now we know it’s a danger for all.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to FotoDawg and HPZ via flickr; Mogens EngelundAndrew LihJina LeeSanjay AcharyaJustincPingpongwillZerohundSalimfadhleyH PadleckasHeqsMattysc, and Rainer Zenz via Wikimedia; and Renee Comet at National Cancer Institute. Thanks to Maxim Fetissenko, PhD, and Laurie-Marie Pisciotta for their Keynote wizardry!

Nota del Doctor

Here’s my kidney video: Treating Kidney Failure through Diet. And for my discussion of plant versus animal iron sources, see Risk Associated with Iron Supplements.

Another toxic addition to alter the color of meat is arsenic-containing drugs, fed directly to chickens; see Arsenic in Chicken. Carbon monoxide is used to keep red meat red, anthoxanthins keep salmon pink (see Artificial Coloring in Fish), and titanium dioxide is used to whiten processed foods (see Titanium Dioxide & Inflammatory Bowel Disease). It’s amazing the risks the food industry will take to alter food cosmetically (see Artificial Food Colors & ADHD).

There are other harmful additives in soda as well (see Is Sodium Benzoate Harmful? and Diet Soda & Preterm Birth).

What else is in poultry purge (chicken “juice”)? Find out (if you dare!) in Phosphate Additives in Chicken.

For additional context, check out my associated blog post: What Do Meat Purge and Cola Have in Common?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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