Preservatives in foods are designed to prevent microbial growth, spoilage and chemical deterioration, but sometimes they can also prevent you from good health.
Pre-packaged convenience foods are the fastest-growing product category because of busy households and the high cost of going out to dinner. These meals are designed to offer the convenience of frozen and canned foods while providing homemade taste and appearance, however, they may be full of chemical preservatives.
Typically, these pre-packaged foods are cooked just enough to ward off spoilage for a short period of time. As a further aid to freshness, they are often sealed in packaging that contains little or no oxygen, which can extend shelf life for several weeks. Many nutritionists are concerned that some dangerous bacteria may not be killed during the minimal precooking and those microorganisms that cause botulism can flourish in an oxygen-free environment
One of the most serious harmful effects of preservatives in foods is their ability to transform into carcinogens when digested. Nitrosamines, which include nitrites and nitrates, often found in packaged deli meats, cured meats, bacon and salami, interact with stomach and gastric acids to form cancer-causing agents.
Frozen ready meals make up about 50 percent of ready-meals that are sold in the US. Nearly 10 percent of all households are headed by single parents, and more and more people live alone. Your supermarket and other food sellers have developed many ready meals that are preservative-free and easy to grab. So stay away from the pre-packaged food and if you’re in a pinch, go for the deli-fresh healthy meals.