The poor labelling of phosphate food additives by some collagen brands has emerged as a concerning issue, leading to a potential misdirection of consumers.
While the use of phosphates is approved by regulatory bodies, it is the inadequate labelling practices that often hide the true extent of their presence in our daily diets.
Phosphate food additives have become increasingly prevalent in our food supply. The proliferation of these additives raises concerns about their potential health implications.
Phosphate food additives are chemical compounds that contain phosphorus. They are commonly added to a wide range of processed and ultra-processed foods to enhance various characteristics such as flavour, texture, and shelf life. The most frequently used phosphate additives include sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, and potassium phosphate.
One of the world’s leading endocrinologists, Dr Ray Peat PhD, alarmingly states:
“Recent publications are showing that excess phosphate can increase inflammation, tissue atrophy, calcification of blood vessels, cancer, dementia, and, in general, the processes of aging. This is especially important, because of the increasing use of phosphates as food additives.”
The use of phosphate food additives has significantly increased in the past few decades. Besides their use in some collagen brands, they are found in a wide variety of processed and ultra-processed foods, including:
- Processed Meats: Deli meats, sausages, and bacon often contain phosphate additives to enhance texture and preserve freshness.
- Fast Food: Many items in fast food menus, such as chicken nuggets and burgers, contain phosphate additives.
- Baked Goods: Phosphate additives are used in commercial baked goods like cakes, muffins, and bread to regulate pH and improve texture.
- Frozen Foods: Frozen pizzas, TV dinners, and other convenience foods often include phosphate additives for preservation and texture.
- Sodas and Soft Drinks: Some carbonated beverages use phosphoric acid as a flavour enhancer.
Phosphate additives may be listed under different names, making it challenging for consumers to identify and track their intake accurately. For instance, a product may contain disodium phosphate, but another might list phosphoric acid, causing confusion among consumers who are not familiar with these chemical terms.
Another method used to obscure the presence of phosphate additives is the utilization of vague or generic descriptions in ingredient lists. Rather than explicitly stating the specific phosphate compound used, labels may include terms like "phosphates" or "mineral salts." This lack of specificity makes it difficult for consumers to discern the precise additives present, hindering their ability to make informed choices about their dietary intake.
Some collagen brands strategically position phosphate additives within a lengthy list of ingredients, diminishing their visibility to consumers. By placing these additives among other compounds, some of which may have more familiar names, companies effectively divert attention away from the potentially harmful nature of phosphate additives. This tactic preys on the assumption that consumers may not thoroughly scrutinize every ingredient, especially when faced with a complex list.
Harmful Health Effects of Phosphate Food Additives
Consuming excessive amounts of phosphate additives can have adverse health effects. The harmful effects are a topic of concern, particularly for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and bone disorders. Some potential health effects of phosphate food additives include:
- Bone Health: Excessive phosphate consumption can disrupt the balance between calcium and phosphate in the body, potentially leading to weakened bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Research has linked high phosphate intake to lower bone mineral density (BMD) and an increased risk of fractures. Research published in the "Journal of Bone and Mineral Research" in 2020 investigated the impact of dietary phosphate on bone health in postmenopausal women. The study demonstrated that a high dietary phosphate intake was associated with lower BMD and increased fracture risk.
- Cardiovascular Health: High phosphate intake may contribute to cardiovascular problems by promoting vascular calcification. Recent studies have suggested that elevated phosphate levels in the blood are associated with an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes. A study published in the "Journal of the American Society of Nephrology" in 2021 examined the association between dietary phosphate intake and cardiovascular outcomes in individuals with chronic kidney disease. The study found a significant link between high phosphate intake and an increased risk of cardiovascular events.
- Kidney Function: The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating phosphate levels in the body. In individuals with impaired kidney function, high phosphate intake can lead to hyperphosphatemia, a condition associated with cardiovascular complications. Recent research has emphasized the importance of monitoring phosphate intake in individuals with kidney disease. A review article in "Nephron" in 2022 provided an overview of recent research on phosphate intake and kidney function. It emphasized the importance of dietary phosphate management in individuals with kidney disease and the potential impact on long-term outcomes.
- Metabolic Disorders: There is some evidence to suggest that excessive phosphate consumption may be associated with metabolic disorders, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have explored the relationship between high phosphate diets and metabolic disturbances.
- Gastrointestinal Distress: Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as diarrhea and abdominal pain, as a result of consuming foods with high levels of phosphate additives. While there is limited recent research specifically focusing on the gastrointestinal effects of phosphate additives, older studies have reported gastrointestinal discomfort as a possible side effect of high phosphate intake.
The deceptive labelling of phosphate food additives by food processing companies, including some collagen powder brands, poses a significant challenge to consumers striving for healthier dietary choices. The use of inconsistent terminology, vague descriptions, and strategic placement within ingredient lists contributes to a lack of awareness about the potential health risks associated with these additives.
At CollagenX, we empower our customers through increased nutritional literacy and advocating for regulatory reform which are crucial steps towards ensuring transparency in the food industry and safeguarding public health.
CollagenX does not use any artificial additives, including phosphates, in any of our products.