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Foods with Sodium Phosphate: Is it Safe to Use?

Sodium phosphate is an umbrella term for many compounds of sodium (salt) and phosphate (inorganic, chemical-forming chemical). Sodium phosphate in the diet is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe to use. It is often used as an additive in the manufacture of processed foods. It is also an ingredient in many home products and medicines. In some people, sodium phosphate can be used to repair the abdomen before colonoscopy.

It is used in food

Sodium phosphate is found in fast foods, processed meats, processed meats, canned tuna, baked goods, and other processed foods.

It works with a variety of functions

It thickens food: It stabilizes the texture of processed foods, such as mashed potato mixes.

It cures meat and meat products: It helps to keep deli meats and bacon moist, avoiding spoilage.

It’s a leavening agent: It helps dough rise in commercially prepared cakes and breads and in cake mixes.

It’s an emulsifying agent: It acts as a stabilizer to keep oil and water mixed together in certain types of food, such as processed cheese.

It balances pH levels in processed food: It stabilizes the balance between acidity and alkalinity, extending shelf life and improving taste.

Is it safe to use?

Sodium phosphate in the diet is classified by the FDA as GRAS, meaning “generally known as safe.” This is because the amount of sodium phosphate added to the food consumed is very low.

One study found that sodium phosphate, when used as a dietary supplement, can affect health differently than naturally occurring phosphate. This is because it is absorbed differently by the body. According to the abstract, high phosphate levels can raise the mortality rate of the general public, as well as those with kidney disease and heart disease. Researchers have linked high levels of phosphate to rapid aging and vascular damage. Researchers recommend that people eat foods that contain natural phosphates, rather than those with excess sodium phosphate.

Some athletes take sodium phosphate as a supplement to improve performance. However, a study, reported in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that sodium phosphate supplementation did not improve aerobic ability in athletes.

Side effects of sodium phosphate overdose can include:

  • vomiting
  • headache
  • reduced urine output
  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • dizziness
  • irregular heartbeat
  • seizure

Who should avoid sodium phosphate?

Talk to your doctor about your use of sodium phosphate, especially if you are taking it as a supplement or eating a large amount of processed or fast food. People with certain conditions should avoid taking this item.

These include:

  • kidney disease
  • intestinal tears or blockages
  • colitis, or slow-moving bowels
  • heart failure
  • an allergy to sodium phosphate

Your doctor may also recommend that you limit your intake of certain foods if you are taking certain medications. Before taking it, be sure to discuss your medication history, including what herbal supplements you are using, and your doctor.

Foods with Sodium Phosphate

  • nuts and legumes
  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • cured meat
  • deli meat
  • fast food
  • processed foods, such as ready-to-eat meals
  • commercially prepared baked goods and cake mixes
  • canned tuna


What does sodium phosphate do to your body?

Sodium phosphate is a saline laxative that is thought to work by increasing fluid in the small intestine. It usually results in a bowel movement after 30 minutes to 6 hours. Do not use this medication in children younger than 5 years of age unless directed by the doctor.

Are Bananas high in phosphate?

Bananas are very high in potassium. One banana has 422mg of potassium. However, patients on peritoneal dialysis may be able to have higher amounts of potassium. These are not only high in phosphorus but also are high in potassium.

Is sodium phosphate the same as MSG?

But salt creeps up in foods where you might least expect it, under names like sodium phosphate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and trisodium phosphate.


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