Trisodium Phosphate in Cereals: Myth and Facts in 2022

Trisodium phosphate in cereals

Trisodium phosphate in cereals: With the rising health awareness, today, all of us are keen to explore what is on our plate and what are its components of it. The food additive is one of the sensitive subjects which are opposed by many due to various harms present with it.

Not just food additives are responsible for enhancing the shelf-life and improving the texture; they are primarily used to enhance the flavor of the food too.

Trisodium phosphate is one of the common additives which is generally found in cheeses, baked goods, cereals, and soda. It is an FDA-approved food additive that should be used in moderate quantities to avoid any potential harm to your health.

So, here are some of the fact which you need to undercover about trisodium phosphate as follows:

What is Trisodium Phosphate?

Generally referred to as the group of food additives, Trisodium Phosphate is one of the phosphorus-derived chemical compounds. Different combinations of inorganic phosphate and sodium (salt) are available. Phosphorus is an essential mineral for the human body, which is necessary for muscle contraction, cellular repair as well as nerve function.

Trisodium Phosphate works as a great taste enhancer and widely found in highly processed foods.

What is The Reason to Add Trisodium Phosphate?

In most commercially prepared food, you can find sodium phosphate additives like trisodium phosphate. Most commercial foods include Trisodium Phosphate to enhance the texture and decrease the acidity levels. Especially in baked goods, it helps to raise the dough and maintain its form.

Seafood and meats like canned tuna, sausage, bacon, and lunch meat also contain sodium phosphorus to enhance their shelf-live and avoid any spoilage. By maintaining the pH levels of the food prevents the food from turning to be very alkaline or acidic, which is the primary reason for food spoilage.

Food like mashed potatoes, Trisodium Phosphate helps in thickening it.

Is Trisodium Phosphate Harmless to Consume?

Yes! Food-grade Trisodium Phosphate in cereals is safe to consume in smaller amounts. It is worth noticing that Trisodium phosphate is also used in paint and cleaning products, but it is not as same as food-grade Trisodium phosphate.

The primary food regulations like European Union and FDA recognizes it as safe but to be consumed in smaller amounts. But if you are consuming fast foods and packaged foods in your daily life, you are likely to get impacted by the ill effects of Trisodium Phosphate.

Meats and dairy products contain organic phosphorus. But it has a much slower rate of absorption as compared to inorganic phosphorus present in processed foods.

While your digestive system can absorb 100% of inorganic phosphorous present in cereals, cakes, deli meat, and soda, it can absorb only 50%-60% of organic phosphorus.

With a high intake of phosphorus, there are several ill-effects on health such as low bone density, kidney issues, heart diseases, premature aging, etc.

Hence, you should consume foods containing sodium phosphorus in a restricted quantity.

How to Limit Your Phosphorus Intake to Avoid Health Troubles?

A balanced diet is essential to avoid any deficiency or excessive intake of phosphorus in your body. As organic phosphorus is available in many foods and does not get absorbed in your body fully, you can consume it according to your intake requirements.

However, consuming highly processed foods increase the inorganic phosphorus levels in your body than you need. Some of the food additives which must avoid limiting your phosphorus intake are as follows:

  • Lunch meats
  • Sugary breakfast cereals
  • Soda
  • Cake mixes
  • Sausage
  • Commercially prepared breakfast bars
  • Bacon
  • Cheese sauces
  • Frozen Dinners
  • Boxed cheese and macaroni
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Sweetened ice tea

Most the processed foods are high in sugar and phosphorus. They contain a large number of preservatives, fat, and calories, making them harmful to your health. The processed food contributes almost 50% of your daily intake if you are following a westernized diet.

Should I Avoid Phosphate Additives?

A small number of additives are considered safe, consuming them in large quantities can have a drastic effect on your health, notably:

1. If you are suffering from kidney disease

As the kidney compromises its ability to excrete waste under any severe kidney disease, it is essential to limit the amount of phosphorus intake to avoid high blood levels of phosphorus.

Consuming a large amount of phosphorus can damage the blood vessels besides impacting the damaged kidneys and also leads to abnormal calcium build-up in the body.

High phosphorus intake is also associated with a higher risk of death due to kidney failure on hemodialysis.

2. If you are suffering from osteoporosis

To achieve strong bones, your body needs balanced levels of phosphorus. Any imbalance to this can be harmful to your skeleton system. High intake of phosphorus additives causes an imbalance in Parathyroid hormones.

In the case of calcium deficiency, Parathyroid hormones indicate the body release calcium for the bones. Hence the high level of Parathyroid hormones harms the bones drastically by causing excess calcium loss.

3. If you are struggling with severe heart conditions

High phosphorus levels in the body are associated with a high risk of heart diseases. With calcification of blood vessels, too much phosphorus in your body damages the heart. It is related to coronary artery diseases, as well.

4. If you have severe inflammatory bowel disease

A diet that is high in inorganic phosphorus levels exacerbates the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In several animal studies, it is shown that inorganic phosphorus is responsible for worsening intestinal inflammation.


Trisodium phosphate is an inorganic phosphorous which is commonly found in commercially prepared food and processed food to enhance their taste. While a small amount of Trisodium phosphate is safe and approved by food regulatory like FDA, consuming them in higher quantity can hamper your health significantly.

Especially if you are suffering from kidney disease, bowel disease, heart conditions, and osteoporosis, you should limit your processed foods to restrict the intake of trisodium phosphate. To get the right amount of phosphorus in your body, you should focus on natural sources such as eggs, nuts, fish, and beans.

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