Food Additives: Disodium Phosphate

Food Additives: Disodium Phosphate

Food Additives: Disodium Phosphate

Food Additives: Disodium Phosphate

If you look up Food Additives: Disodium Phosphate, you will find it is a “sodium salt of phosphoric acid”.

If you’re a chemist, that is all the explanation needed. The fact is most of us are not chemists. We need a bit more information about exactly what disodium phosphate is.

Here’s a basic, yet more in-depth explanation.

We need to begin by understanding how phosphoric acid is produced.

How Phosphoric Acid is Produced

This is accomplished through a series of reactions involving sulfuric acid and ground phosphate rock. The resulting product is a blend of phosphoric and sulfuric acids. Additional chemical processes are used to removed contaminants, the product is filtered, and what remains is roughly 75% food grade phosphoric acid.

How Disodium Phosphate is Made from Phosphoric Acid

To create disodium phosphate (or other sodium phosphates), the phosphoric acid is treated (another chemical reaction) with a sodium compound.

The end result, granular disodium phosphate, is used as a food additive to enhance a food’s texture, increase shelf life, or to keep a dry mixture uniform during storage.

Uses for Disodium Phosphate

Disodium phosphate is a common food additive with non-food uses, too.

Non-food uses:

  • In cleaning products
  • In some pesticides
  • As a corrosion inhibitor

Food uses:

Disodium phosphate has a wide variety of uses in food and industry due to its ability to act as a chemical buffer. That means it helps stabilize the pH of a substance, keeping the acidity or alkalinity from fluctuating too much.

For example, you may find this additive in products like:

  • Jell-O
  • Cooking spray
  • Some meats (injected solutions)
  • Some canned goods (like evaporated milk, sauces, toppings)

Is it Safe?

Although it sounds scary with all the chemical reactions involved to create disodium phosphate, not to mention its industrial uses, the fact is phosphates are necessary for good health.

In fact, medicinal chemists actually create phosphates to treat certain medical conditions.

That’s right! Phosphates (there are 7 varieties; disodium phosphate is one of those) are used in medicine to treat high calcium levels in the blood, low phosphorous levels, and calcium-based kidney stones.

Phosphorous occurs naturally in animal-based foods (meat, milk, eggs, fish), nuts, and legumes, and is used in the body, along with calcium, to add structure and strength to our bones and teeth. Most people eating a traditional Western diet get more than enough phosphorous in their diet.

Excess phosphates in the body are removed by the kidneys; however, if unusually high levels of phosphorous accumulate in the body and exceed calcium levels, our bodies begin to consume the calcium stored in our bones. This can lead to brittle bones (osteoporosis).

As with most foods, moderation and balance are key to healthy living.

Armed with facts like these about ingredients in foods we eat, we can make better choices for our own special diet and unique situation.

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Food Additives: Disodium Phosphate

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Food Additives: Disodium Phosphate

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As someone with celiac disease and multiple food allergies, Gigi understands how food can harm or heal. Fully restoring her own health with diet alone after a 25-year health struggle, Gigi now uses her own experiences and the skills she gained as a former neuroscience researcher to share practical, easy-to-understand strategies, science-backed nutrition information, immediately useful tips and recipes to make gluten-free living liberating and positive for everyone!
  • Aivilo Truoccm

    Excellent site. Thank You for your hard work.

    • glutenfreegigi


      Thanks so much! Enjoy!


  • Aivilo Truoccm

    How I found you. I was doing a startpage search on disodium phosphate and this is how I found you.

    • glutenfreegigi


      Super to know! It’s important to be familiar with all the ingredients in the foods we eat.

      Glad you found me!