So what’s in your food? Most of us like to think that we know, or think that the powers that be will protect us from horrendous synthesized and genetically modified rubbish within food national laws.
However, that’s not always the case. A lot of ingredients are mass-produced, even though we think they are natural, in reality, they are not, and this can create health problems.
Citric acid is a very common ingredient in many foods and drinks, and most of us are familiar with the name. Although it’s prepared naturally, that’s not the truth about where most of the citric acid in food nowadays actually comes from.
Mass-produced citric acid is a GMO ingredient, that can potentially trigger allergenic responses in many people. The problem is that because it’s seen as natural, and it doesn’t have to be labeled as artificially produced, it can give people allergic reactions for years before they realize there’s a problem there.
Did You Know How Many Products Citric Acid Is In?
The problem is the citric acid is in many everyday products. It’s mostly used as a preservative, and it can extend the shelf life well beyond what could be achieved with many other similar chemicals. It’s also used to enhance flavor because it has a slightly acidic and sour taste to it.
So it’s used to give a slight kick to foods and drinks. It even found in certified organic foods, even though the citric acid does not have to be organically produced.
So for everything from soft drinks through to breakfast cereals, citric acid is present, and because of how people know it is naturally made, they assume that all citric acid is naturally produced, which simply isn’t the case anymore, and hasn’t been since the mid-20th century, as I will now explain.
Doesn’t Citric Acid Occur Naturally?
The straightforward answer here is that citric acid definitely does occur naturally. It’s highly prevalent in fruits, all citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, pineapples, and even gooseberries.
However, to extract it from the fruit is more expensive because you obviously need the fruit in the first place and you have to extract the acid, which makes the fruit unusable.
That’s why for decades people have been developing processes to make an artificially synthesized version of citric acid.
So it’s vital to use citric acid in many modern foods, but due to the cost and politics around fruit production, it simply impossible to produce enough naturally to satisfy modern food production demands.
How Citric Acid Is Made For Modern Food Production
It may surprise you, or even shock you to know that since the early 1900 citric acid has been produced from the black mold (Aspergillus Niger).
By fermenting starches, it can be turned into citric acid. This process has been known since around 1893 when scientists discovered that citric acid could be produced using sugar and penicillium mold.
Prior to the Second World War, most of the world’s citric acid came from Italy, because of the high amounts of fruit manufactured there. However, because of the war, other methods had to be found. The food chemist called James Currie was the person who pioneered this fermentation method around the time of the First World War.
The truth is that nowadays, nearly all the citric acid using Food & Drink production is made through mold fermentation using corn. Most of that corn is genetically modified as well, from the biggest GMO corn producers in the USA and China.
So as you can see, that’s beginning to sound slightly dodgy, and not at all natural, if you are against GMO ingredients, or have food allergies.
Even worse, citric acid yields from these production methods are increased using gamma radiation. This produces mutant mold that increases production yields because of this genetic improvement that’s stimulated. However, that makes it even more unnatural.
Citric Acid And Sodium Benzoate Together A Carcinogenic
Even worse than all that, citric acid and sodium benzoate are both ingredients in many fizzy drinks. It’s actually been known since the early 1990s this combination when exposed to the right conditions, can produce carcinogenic byproducts.
Basically, the sodium benzoate reacts with the citric acid in the presence of heat, to produce benzene, a known and potent carcinogenic.
So if fizzy drinks are not kept cold, say they aren’t kept in the sun when you’re on a day out, it could be generating carcinogenic byproducts that you then consume.
Where Else Could I Encounter Unhealthy Citric Acid?
Citric acid is not only found in food and drinks either. It can also be found in many supplements, things like multivitamins, and many sporting supplements.
Citric acid is present in a lot of bodybuilding supplements out there. Again, this citric acid will have been produced from black mold, it is not produced from the fruit.
However, that doesn’t mean that these bodybuilding supplements or other products are unsafe, because it’s exactly the same as consuming it via food. So you don’t have to ditch them and go natural down the gym.
But you have to understand that citric acid, despite sounding like that nice natural extract from many fruits, is actually an aggressively processed and completely synthetic food additive that is mutated through some pretty dubious means to increase production levels.
The truth is though, most people don’t have any allergic response to citric acid, whether it’s naturally produced or man-made.
But whether you are using a sporting supplement, say you’re taking a bodybuilding supplement or something like that, or whether you getting strange reaction in your body after you eat, and you can’t pin down what’s causing it, then it might be time to look at citric acid as the potential culprit in both food and supplements you consume.
Symptoms can include stomach cramps, mouth reactions, headaches, cramping, circles under the eyes, skin rashes, and diarrhea. Although these are often mild, and very rare, if any of these things are happening to you, and after extensive analysis of your diet you can’t find any reason for it, then it might be worth looking into removing citric acid from the diet completely for a couple of weeks to see if the symptoms disappear.