Is Citric Acid Harmful?

Is Citric Acid Harmful?
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A hoax hoodwinks European consumers.

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What about the preservative citric acid? Bad for you, harmless, or good for you? In Europe, it’s been described as the most dangerous carcinogen of all. But, that was a total hoax. Citric acid is harmless; in fact, citrus fruits are up to about 10% citric acid by weight.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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

What about the preservative citric acid? Bad for you, harmless, or good for you? In Europe, it’s been described as the most dangerous carcinogen of all. But, that was a total hoax. Citric acid is harmless; in fact, citrus fruits are up to about 10% citric acid by weight.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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

Image thanks to Al-Salauddin International

Doctor's Note

Check out these videos for more on citrus fruits:
Keeping Your Hands Warm With Citrus
Reducing Muscle Fatigue With Citrus
Orange Aromatherapy for Anxiety

And check out my other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?) – listed below the post. 

For more context, see my associated blog post: Soy milk: shake it up!

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

28 responses to “Is Citric Acid Harmful?

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    1. saying you are allergic to commercial citric acid is like saying your skin is slightly irritated by bathing in hydrochloric acid. why are corporations allowed to poison us?

  1. No doubt you are the expert and probably right about citric acid being harmless to most people. However, based on my own personal experience,there is no doubt in my mind that it clearly aggravates my eczema, and the same has been observed in the case of other family members. Perhaps we are in the minority, but still, for us citric acid is HARMFUL.

    1. I too suffer from a reaction to commercial citric acid, but not to any citrus. I understand this relates to the manufacturing process, which derives it from a mould/fungus, as I am also allergic to mushrooms and penicillin (I also react badly to wine and bread mould, which all tie together in terms of moulds/fungus).
      To me, citric acid is to be avoided at all costs, or else I become quite ill and my eczema also flares up. I am glad to see I am not alone in this.

      1. My whole body reacts to this chemical. Major pain and weakness. This chemical is in so much. Eg. Deoderants shampoos conditioners lotions foods beverages including some teas. I wish they would ban this.

  2. Intresting personel fact, eating citric acid in fruit does not bother me though citric acid added in food products such as tomato sauce (makes up for the fact food manufactures put less tomatoes in said product) etc gives me stomach problems. The problem is so severe(increased acidity) that I have to consume a cup or two of slippery elm gruel to neutralize(absorb) the acidity so my stomach can function properly again. This is yet another example of how removing various chemical componets out of the food itself become problematic and even toxic. It is said that in order to neutralize the acidity found in concentrated juices, that every 1c of concentrated juice requires 16 c of water. I wonder what 1t-1T of white powder compared to 1c of juice would take?

  3. I heard the citric acid manufactured in a lab is not healthy and it actually deteriorates baby’s teeth when it is found in baby food?

    1. from fruit yes. but you will not find that in processed foods. you will only find the toxic industrial chemical that is derived from black mold.

  4. I am salicylate intolerant and others amines, sulphites colours preservatives….How can I get the amounts of nutrients I need each day?

  5. What about ochratoxin A in industrial citric acid?Is it safe to use 10 mg industrial citric acid daily refer to level ochratoxin A?

  6. will commercial diluted citric acid left in electric kettle for approx. one hour, as cleaning agent, make water boiled in the kettle later harmful

  7. “citric acid” as in the thing they try to hide on ingredient labels even going so far as to advertise foods as “organic” while containing chemicals derived from gmo black mold spore secretions.
    no, the “citric acid” in your doritos, jam, fruit juice or any product you purchased from a store is not from a lemon or an orange peel. it is a dangerous compound that is derived from mold which most people are allergic to and is the sole cause of eczema and other conditions. it is disgusting what is allowed in our food. eating organic dog food is almost safer now.

  8. It makes me very cross that Citric acid is labelled as a natural product in processed foods. The citric acid used in food production is not natural and contains many other ingredients used to produce it. Many people suffer from the effects of consuming products containing citric acid unwittingly with symptoms like migraine to mouth ulcers. Please show this to companies that say it is natural http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1517-83822010000400005

    1. There are so many “natural” products tha irritate, drive me nuts and my exema is sores all over my head and body. Gums, colors, natural flavorings which is a circus in itself. Lies, lies , lies! We suffer allergies and can’t live a normal life style because our food is poisoning us. The same in the Spirit. Churches are full of hungry sheep but the wolves won’t give the food and knowledge to save their souls. Lord bless us all.

    1. Hi, Burt! As Dr. Greger suggests in the video above, citric acid is harmless, so not good in particular, but not at all bad.

  9. You’re supposed to be the “expert” on this *cough*, and yet you don’t mention in your cute little video that citric acid on a mass scale is not made from citrus fruit. As already mentioned in the comments it is derived from mold, a genetically modified mold usually. There is no distinction for organic certification. Citric acid is in all organisms and is used for respiration in the citric acid cycle, but that’s not to say it’s the same thing as precipated citric acid from citris fruits. Just like absoric acid made in organic chemistry is not the same as fresh vitamin C.

  10. The devils always in the details hoping we won’t read the small print. I’m learning now and actually taking things back to the store when we accidentally buy something with these additives and fillers. Especially the Xanthan gum and all the rest. Look up natural flavors for a real thrill. Carrageenan nearly killed me. Suffering from ignorance here. Now I know but I’m covered in sores.

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