The Health Effects of Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) On Your Body

The word “butylated” in itself sounds dangerous. But the FDA does approve for certain amounts to be used in our food and other substances.

These two preservatives are found in cereal, baked goods, animal feeds, packaging, cosmetics, snack foods, chewing gum, meats, butter, dehydrated potatoes, beer and more.

BHA is generally used to keep fats from becoming rancid. It is also used as a yeast de-foaming agent. BHT also prevents oxidative rancidity of fats. It is used to preserve food odor, color, and flavor.

The problem: The oxidative characteristics and/or metabolites of BHA and BHT may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigenicity; however the same reactions may combat oxidative stress. There is evidence that certain persons may have difficulty metabolizing BHA and BHT, resulting in health and behavior changes.

Here are some parents’ comments on their children’s sensitivity to food dyes:

From personal experience, eating foods with BHT or with other preservatives gives me intense abdominal pain. I kept a diary of all the foods I ate and then slowly eliminated ingredients out of my diet. High Fructose Corn Syrup is another artificial sweetener my body cannot tolerate. However, people react to foods differently.  That’s why it’s important to read labels and know what’s in your food.  Everyone has to make their own decision about what they eat.
What are your thoughts on BHA and BHT?

Material Safety Data Sheet on BHT
A Chemical Safety Card on BHT
Center for Science in the Public Interest on BHT

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