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Author Topic: What is Sodium Nitrite?? Also what is used for ??  (Read 12681 times)

Offline Bored chemist

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What is Sodium Nitrite?? Also what is used for ??
« Reply #25 on: 18/07/2010 18:58:44 »
As long as your kidneys are working properly the potassium is not going to make any difference. There's lots of it in your diet and the body uses what it needs and excretes the rest in the urine.

We have been eating nitrates since ever we existed, they are present in quite a variety of green vegetables.

Some of the nitrate we ingest will be metabolised by gut bacteria to nitrite.

Some, but not all of that nitrite will go on to form nitrosamines.
If it reacts with a primary amine then you will get a little nitrogen gas and the corresponding alcohol. Since proteins are full of primary amines, most of the nitrite will be degraded this way.
If some reacts with secondary amines to form nitrosamines then there is a risk that these will cause cancer.

However, you need to look at the other side of the risk/benefit analysis too.
Putting nitrites (or nitrates) into things like quiche will stop botulism from growing in it; it also reduces the growth of other bugs. (They also make meat products look more pink/red which improves their selling power)

You are trading a very small risk of cancer against the small risk of death from food borne bacteria.

Hi Bored chemist, thanks for your answer, but I don't drink alcohol so
that's irrelevant.

I am aware that nitrates are in most if not all foods but it's nitrItes
that I've eaten in that quiche but will never ever purchase again.

Yes we all have loads of bacteria in our bodies including our guts and
some can become dangerous like salmonella. But that's not a cancer causing

Although your comment about me possibly dieing from nitrites, I will die
one day anyway.

I didn't mention alcohol; I referred to the alcohols produced from amines.
Not drinking alcohol probably makes a lot more difference to your chances of getting cancer than worrying about nitrites will.

Chlorophyll is not needed in the human diet.

Plenty of the bugs in out guts can produce toxins; why worry about cancer in particular, when you should be worrying about all the possible risks?

The Naked Scientists Forum

What is Sodium Nitrite?? Also what is used for ??
« Reply #25 on: 18/07/2010 18:58:44 »


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