Common Food Additive Linked with Sluggishness, Low Activity Levels

We have been waving the warning flag on a common food chemical for over a decade now for its link to cancer as well as heart and kidney problems even in young, healthy people. Now new research has demonstrated this food chemical may be contributing to sluggishness, low energy and reduced activity levels. The additive is an inorganic phosphate which shows up on food labels as ‘potassium phosphate’, ‘sodium phosphate’ and ‘calcium phosphate’.  The additive is often used as a preservative and is common in highly processed foods, especially bakery goods, some breakfast cereals and packaged meals, soda and processed meats.


phosphate food additives


The food additive is commonplace in U.S. processed foods: Up to 25 per cent of adults in the US consume three to four times the recommended amount of phosphate on a regular basis.


Overview of research

The study linking phosphate food additives to reduced energy levels was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. The research was conducted on both animals and humans to uncover the reason behind low-activity levels:

-During the first set of studies, researchers fed two groups of mice similar diets – with one group consuming three times more the amount of phosphate. After 12 weeks mice given the diet high in the phosphate additives spent less time on the treadmill, consumed less overall oxygen, and had an impaired fat-burning metabolism compared to those who did not consume the additive.

-The second experiment tested the findings on 1,603 human participants, who used a fitness tracker over seven days to see what increased consumption of phosphate had on activity levels. The group that consumed more of the additive was found to have spent less time engaging in “moderate to vigorous physical activity levels” and was more sedentary overall compared to the group that ate a clean diet.



cfl graphic-potassium phosphate


Avoid the Phosphates Family!  The good news is that with minor tweaks in your diet this food additive can be avoided and/or significantly minimized. The solution is to read the ingredients labels and find alternatives (like organic brands) that do not contain phosphates. And then monitor your new phosphate-free lifestyle to see if your energy levels begin to bounce back.


Journal Reference:  Peri-Okonny, P., et al. (2019).  High-Phosphate Diet Induces Exercise Tolerance and Impairs Fatty Acid Metabolism in Mice, Journal of Circulation, pdf:


To learn more about the other places phosphates and other food additives are hiding, what the scientific research and clinical trials results have found, and how to avoid them, get your handbook today!

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