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18 Most Sickening Food Ingredients

soda-bubbles

Credit: Corbis

12 of 20

Sodium benzoate

What it is: Did you ever take a slug of soda or juice and feel a tingling sensation in your throat? That may be sodium benzoate. This common preservative is also generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, meaning it shouldn’t pose a hazard. That doesn't mean you shouldn't avoid it: a 2007 study published in The Lancet found that a mixture of sodium benzoate and food dyes was linked to hyperactive behavior in children, although it was hard to tell if the dyes or the preservative were to blame.

Where you’ll find it: Soft drinks and other carbonated beverages, fruit juices and jams, salad dressings, condiments, and pickles.

Gross-out factor: Medium

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