What Is BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) or BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)?

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BHA and BHT are two of the most widely used chemical food preservatives, over the last several decades. They are used because they can help prevent oxygen from making food and especially the oils in food go off. What happens when the oxygen gets into the oils, it starts to lose the color of the food, or the aroma or the taste, and BHA and BHT are very affective at preventing that.

For that reason there are all kinds of different foods, and aisle after aisle of the supermarket, you will find them in prepared meats like sausages, you will find them in breakfast serials, so surprised inside a box, may not be a toy but chemical preservatives. You will find them in baked goods, seem like they last for ever, you'll find them is stack foods like chips, you'll even find them in surprising places like chewing gum and beer.

So even these chemicals work very well, there are concerns for a few reasons, one is that you can have a allergic reactions to either one and not know what it is you're allergic to. But here's the thing BHA has been shown, BHA in food has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals in more than one species.

Does it cause cancer in humans? We don't know, but the Department of Health and Human Services, has called BHA reasonably anticipated human carcinogen. It's likely it's causing cancer in people. It's been banned in the UK as a food ingredient, but because we don't know yet the FDA still allows it in our foods.

So of course the best way to avoid chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT is to eat fresh food. But if you're buying packaged or prepared foods convenience foods check the label, and you'll see BHA or BHT on the label if they're there. The other thing that you can do is shop for brands that are preservative free or shop at stores like whole foods where BHA and BHT are on the not allowed ingredient list at all.