Generally, mornings are not my favorite time of the day but make no mistake, breakfast is by far my favorite meal. Whether it’s eggs and bacon, waffles and fruit or even a bowl of cereal, I love it all! With that being said, these days I start my mornings with the world’s best nutritional shake. If you missed our post on these shakes, you can find it here. No, a nutritional shake is not as exciting as a stack of pancakes, fresh off the griddle with butter melting into the streams of syrup cascading down the sides, so it’s important to find your balance. Part of maximizing your health and wellness potential is enjoying life, and for this to happen, it’s essential to establish a proper balance between eating for health and eating for enjoyment. Everything in moderation. So, indulging in a bowl of cereal every once in a while can’t be too bad, right? Whether it’s a once in a while indulgence or a quick meal for our kids on the mornings we find ourselves short on time, cereal is big business. Sadly, the majority of brand name cereals we start our day with are riddled with poison. One of the latest chemicals to stir the milk in our cereal bowl is Trisodium Phosphate (TSP). Along with cereal, TSP is a common ingredient in paint thinner’s, industrial cleaning products, degreasing agents and mildew removers. TSP can also be found in meats, baked goods, and cheeses. This begs the question, what is the justification for TSP showing up in foods? There should be no reason or justification for this. The basic fact that TSP is used in industrial cleaning agents is reason enough to keep it out of our kid’s breakfast cereals.
Queuing up a simple online search for Trisodium Phosphate in cereals will yield many different articles and opinions. For example, Snopes.com, a website held in high regard as one of the top sites to go to when sorting out fact from fiction states that TSP is in fact not a dangerous ingredient found in food. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we will respectfully agree to disagree with Snopes on this one. Since Snopes claims to be neutral to opinion and posts its conclusions based on fact-based evidence, let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Sadly, The FDA has either turned a blind eye or agrees with Snopes that TSP has a safe place on the list of ingredients in a number of General Mills cereals along with many additional foods. Yes, The FDA has no problem with TSP, but there are a couple of other government agencies that have a different opinion regarding Trisodium Phosphate. The Environmental Protection Agency began the fight against TSP in 2011 when it listed TSP as a “hazardous substance” after finding it was, in fact, detrimental to the environment. TSP was officially listed in The Clean Water Act of 2011. Before 2011, TSP was found in most dishwashing and laundry detergents. Once The EPA stepped in, TSP was phased out of these detergents due to the EPA’s findings and their subsequent Clean Water Act. So now we have the EPA warning us of the dangers of TSP, but the FDA continues to approve of the use of this chemical in our food. So, who can break this tie? What does the Center for Disease Control, (CDC) have to say about TSP? The CDC’s stance on TSP is to, “avoid all contact”. The CDC also lists stomach pain, shock, and collapse among some of the side effects of consuming TSP.
In conclusion, while two out of three of these agencies see TSP for what it is, The FDA allows companies to use this chemical in our food legally. The scariest part is the majority of the foods we find TSP in is foods marketed towards our children. How on earth can this remain on the FDA’s list of approved ingredients?
A list of foods and cereals containing trisodium phosphate is easy enough to find online so we will omit our own list for now. Instead, we will take a little deeper glimpse into the dangers of TSP. The primary mineral in TSP is phosphate and studies show that ingesting high levels of phosphate can cause a wealth of health issues in the body. These side effects include kidney damage, soft tissue calcification and stripping calcium from our bones. This can lead to osteopenia and ultimately osteoporosis. The FDA states that TSP can only be used in foods at safe levels but even at half potency, should we be ingesting TSP? If there is even a question as to whether or not an ingredient is safe, in 2019, why are we even taking the risk and why is the FDA allowing chemicals like TSP to show up in our children’s foods?