5 Food Ingredients That Deplete Your Bones Of Crucial Vitamins, Minerals, And Antioxidants - Save Our Bones

Did you know that there are five common food ingredients that actually starve your bones of vital nutrients, many of which are Foundation Supplements?

You see, in today’s pre-packaged, convenience-food world, all sorts of additives and preservatives are added to foods to prolong shelf life and to enhance color and flavor. These substances can undermine the bone-healthy nutrients you’re trying to replenish with food and supplements.

As you read through the following list, you might find that these additives sound familiar. In fact, it’s possible that some or all of these ingredients are lurking in your pantry or refrigerator. So this is a perfect example where knowledge can make a huge difference in your bone-building success.

Let’s get started!

#1 Calcium Disodium EDTA (Aliases: Disodium EDTA, Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid)

This food additive is composed of formaldehyde, sodium cyanide, and ethylenediamine. It is exceptional at color and flavor preservation, and here’s how it works.

The discoloration and decay of foods begin with oxidation, and oxidation begins with free metals and heme compounds found in food. EDTA binds with these metal ions, preventing them from taking part in the chemical reactions of the oxidation process.

While EDTA is used as a heavy metal detox treatment because it’s such a powerful chelating agent, it does have a deleterious effect on your bones since it pulls crucial minerals from your digestive tract. Then these nutrients are excreted rather than getting transferred to your bones.

Nutrients Removed By EDTA:

  • Calcium*
  • Iron
  • Zinc*
  • Manganese*
  • Copper*
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum

*Foundation Supplement

Foods That Contain EDTA:

  • Pickles
  • Canned potatoes
  • Cooked and canned shrimp, clams, and crabmeat
  • Canned beans
  • Canned mushrooms

#2: Phosphoric Acid

You’ve probably seen this caustic ingredient listed in the contents of colas. It preserves the bubbly, fizzy nature of soda and keeps it from going flat. In addition, phosphoric acid adds a “sharp” flavor and retards mold and bacteria growth (which would normally thrive in the sugary soda).

The problem with phosphoric acid is twofold: first, it prevents calcium and magnesium from being absorbed in your body. Second, it naturally “seeks” calcium with which to bind. And when you ingest phosphoric acid, you’re taking in phosphorus without any calcium. So the phosphorus molecules will bind with whatever calcium is available, which means it will head for your bones, literally dissolving them.

And it gets worse – when calcium is swept out of the body, it takes magnesium with it.

Nutrients Removed By Phosphoric Acid:

*Foundation Supplement

Foods That Contain Phosphoric Acid:

  • Colas, sodas, soft drinks
  • Flavored waters and various fizzy beverages

#3: Guar Gum

You’ll find guar gum in foods that require a thickening agent. It’s essentially the fiber from guar beans, but it’s not the kind of fiber you want to ingest in large amounts (and in isolation). Guar gum feeds the “bad” bacteria in the gut, causing imbalance.

When unhealthy bacteria overpopulate the gut, the competition for key nutrients intensifies, and the bad bacteria gain the upper hand. Then they consume the very nutrients your bones need, including crucial antioxidants like lycopene.

Nutrients Removed By Guar Gum:

Foods That Contain Guar Gum:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Canned soups
  • Some ice creams and frozen desserts
  • Various beverages

#4: Synthetic Sulfites (Aliases: Sodium sulfites, sulfur dioxide, sodium disulfite, calcium sulfites)

Sulfites are banned for use on fresh fruits and vegetables in the US, but they are used freely in many preserved foods. The primary use of sulfites is to maintain color and act as a preservative. However, sulfites deplete vitamin B1 or thiamin.

As one of the synergistic B-complex vitamins, thiamin is essential for bone health. Synthetic sulfites can contribute to allergic reactions as well, promoting bone-damaging inflammation.

Nutrients Removed By Sulfites:

*Foundation Supplement

Foods That Contain Synthetic Sulfites:

  • Some dried fruits with added sulfites
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Beer and wine
  • Processed vegetable juices
  • Condiments
  • Teas
  • Trail mix
  • Canned vegetables
  • White rice

#5: Nitrates and nitrites (Alias: sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite)

You’ll find these salty preservatives in many processed and preserved meats. The terms are interchangeable, because nitrates are converted to nitrites during digestion.

Nitrites serve various purposes as preservatives. They maintain color and flavor, adding a salty kick to foods. But the major reason for the widespread use of nitrites is to kill Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that cause botulism.

The use of nitrogen in chemical fertilizers means that some vegetables contain nitrites as well. The good news is, Vitamin C, which is also present in the vegetables, prevents the nitrites from forming nitrosamines, which are extremely acidifying and carcinogenic. In cured meats, nitrites are uninhibited by Vitamin C, and freely form nitrosamines.

The most insidious way that nitrites harm your bones is by depleting your body of glutathione, the Master Antioxidant that is crucial for healthy bones.

Nutrients Removed By Nitrites:

Foods That Contain Nitrites:

  • Hotdogs
  • Bacon
  • Deli meats like pepperoni, salami, and bologna
  • Packaged lunch meats
  • Ham
  • Meat sticks
  • Jerky

So what’s the takeaway? Read labels carefully when you shop. You’ll be surprised to find that certain brands (at least in the USA) now offer healthier alternatives in foods that normally contain these toxic chemicals, including the popular cold cuts.

Clearly, all of these food additives add to your body’s toxic load, which depletes your bones and prevents them from strengthening. Which means that your body needs to be cleansed of toxins in order to utilize the crucial nutrients that build and nourish your bones.

This is all the more reason to try to eat whole, fresh foods, preferably organic, and to avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Till next time,

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Robin

    p.s. – I would also add sugar to your list as studies have shown that it disrupts vitamin D synthesis which affects calcium absorption in the gut.

  2. Robin

    Thank you, Vivian. It’s people like you with courage and integrity that are helping the poor and the sick like me get healthier and stronger. Many of us have consumed products on store shelves under the assumption that our government has been protecting us from such harmful chemicals. Sadly, this is not the case. I very much appreciate the information you have shared with us.


  3. Eileen

    I am jumping on the band wagon! I hope it’s not to late. I have been diagnosed with Osteopina and have lost a 1/2″ already. Beings that I am 68 years old and was 4’11 and 1/2″ this was devastating for me to hear from my doctor. I hope that following your advice I will be doing fine soon.
    Thank you Vivian

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Welcome, Eileen! You’ll find all kinds of free information and support from other Savers at this site. 🙂

  4. Athiya

    Ellen Stucker / I,too, have had problems with wine. I have had the red face, but only smietmoes, and it doesn’t matter whether it is inexpensive or expensive. This has only happened with red wine, not white. Occasionally, I have had problems with racing heart, but not always. I have also had problems with stomach cramping, and diarrhea, but not always. Sometimes I have congestion problems, and occasionally, I will have a headache the next AM, and have noticed a couple of times thatthe roof of my mouth has felt as if those little lines up there will feel raised and a bit sore. I don’t know what to make of it all. I supposedly am allergic to sulfur drugs, but I was tested in many compounds and all were negative. I have no food allergies that I know of. I have been getting a little paranoid lately, as I have been worried about anaphylaxsis and wine. I have been in anaphylaxsis once and on the way another time or two. I don’t understand if I am allergic to wines, why don’t I have the same symptoms everytime, and why don’t I have a stronger reaction, like some of the posts on this website. I am a severly allergic person, but after taking shots for 25 years every week; I hardly even suffer from hay fever anymore. My allergies are to pollens, some molds, animals, etc. And, I have a good many drug allergies. I saw on another website posted under this one on Google, that there is new research on what is being tested for wine allergies, etc., and I am anxious to move on and read it, as I love wine, and am sick of suffering for it. I have always been a beer drinker, and it gives me no problems, but after reading So. Beach that it immediately turns into sugar in your body,& causes such weight problems, (yes, me!) then I had hoped to move onto wine. I have irritable bowel, and a bad case of diverticulosis and this stomach-ache I get from even one half glass of wine is so annoying. Ellen

    • Rebecca Danis

      You should get your genes mapped to see if you have a CBS mutation (see Dr. Jockers site for CBS mutation) It makes a person unable to process and excrete sulfur so sulfur levels and then calcium levels get really high in the non bone soft tissues. You might also have a tumor in your parathyroid gland that could be causing hyper parathyroidism. The surgery for that is quick and easy. So those might be a couple things to look into.

  5. Sandra

    Thank you so much for the info. Here I thought all my beans were healthy.
    I just checked all my canned beans ALL, ( garbanzos, pintos, kidney. and white) all had the EDTA except the black beans and the canned tomatoes which both just had calcium chloride. Is that the same thing? Is it bad too? Also my Goya coconut milk had potassium metabisulfite. I am assuming anything that ends in sulfite is bad? I am so happy to know this. I will start buying organic even in my canned beans from now on.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Sandra,
      I am so glad you wrote in. 🙂 Your body can process small amounts of calcium chloride, even though it’s inorganic and not easily absorbed. 🙂

      Sulfites or sulfate agents come in the following forms: sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium bisulfite and potassium metabisulfite. So potassium metabisulfite is just another form of sulfite!

  6. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Afternoon Vivian,

    You Can’t EVER Eat, Nor Drink Things Like Cottage Cheese, Pepperoni, And Any Kind Of Wines, Nor Any Of The Other Food And Drinks That Were Listed? That’s Not Good. I Love Cottage Cheese, Pepperoni On Pizzas, And Wine, Both Red And White, Tea, Both Hot And Iced Tea!
    Is There Any Way Besides Not Eating Nor Drinking These Foods And Drinks That We Can Do To Counter-Act The Effect They Have On Us?

    Thank You Very Much, In Advance, For Any Hope You Can Give Us.
    And Thank You For All You Do.

    Take Care, And Stay Well! Have A Wonderful Rest Of Your Day, And Always!


    • Rebecca Danis

      Hi Leslie, I know not eating that stuff is a bummer, but it would be best for your health to avoid it or at the very least eat in moderation. If you do not have a CBS mutation or sulfur sensitivity or no problems with your parathyroid hormone, it might not be as bad; but years of these substances can promote faster aging and cause more health problems as you age.
      Taking a liquid magnesium chloride like Trace Minerals Research Mega Mag will help replace the magnesium that is lost and will help your body to better weather the offensive chemicals. Avoiding offending foods or at least eating them in moderation (80% good whole/non processed foods and 20% or less of these type of foods) in conjunction with liquid magnesium chloride supplementation can make a big difference in your health over the long term. See Dr. Carolyn Dean on youtube in regard to magnesium benefits or check out her book the Magnesium Miracle at the library.

  7. Sally

    Thank you Vivian for all the very informative information you send all of us healthy bone hopefuls. I have taken all of it very seriously and applied it in my daily life. I am so glad I researched “alternatives to osteoporosis drug therapy” knowing the horrible effects of pharmaceutical drugs in general. I am 62 and contine to be drug free and intend to throughout the remainder of my life.

    Because I use and enjoy canned beans in my soups and other recipes I wanted to share a food manufacturer that does not use EDTA or any chemical preservatives. The only ingredients are beans, water and Kombu Seaweed.I like this brand especially because there is also no salt added and the cans have a BPA free lining. It can be found in natural food stores. The brand is Eden Organic.

    Stick with natural food stores where unsafe ingredients in the products such as chemical preservatives such as nitrates and EDTA, food coloring etc. are usually never found. These stores offer healthy more natural safe foods so we are not forced to eliminate many of the foods from our diets we enjoy.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for the tips, Sally!

      • Rebecca Danis

        For natural treatment of osteoporosis, please be aware that magnesium supplementation helps to prevent osteoporosis. Also get a parathyroid hormone test because a parathyroid tumor can cause osteoporosis. And get your genes mapped to see if you have a CBS mutation which can cause high sulfur and high phosphorus levels in the blood which will cause calcium to be leeched from the bones to buffer the highly acidic condition caused by the excess sulfur and phosphorus. Magnesium supplementation can help with this because, it is also an effective buffer of acid conditions in the blood and magnesium also helps calcium stay in the bones where it belongs.

  8. jeanette

    very, very, informative. we’ve heard all this before, but this is the way we need the info explained to us. now we “got it” in a nutshell. thank you! I don’t drink soda, don’t eat processed meats, i avoid processed foods, but now I know more about the other foods and how even some of the innocent foods can be damaging.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Jeanette,
      It’s one of my goals to make the truth about bone health understandable and simple! 🙂

  9. Annabelle

    Many thanks for your useful update.

  10. Christine

    Just found your website and am encouraged. Can you tell me what it is I need to know before going for a dexa scan. I was scheduled today for one but cancelled because I just read on your site that there is something to know or do BRFORE having one. The doctor drilled into my iliac in right hip area and said my bone did not offer much resistance so wants me to have scan for osteopenia. I am apprehensive about this but want to know. I hope to have it preformed ASAP as we may leave town any day due to a parent who is gravely ill. Can you tell me what it is I need to know so I may have it done correctly ASAP? I plan to buy your book next pay period. Thank you for your website it is a blessing.

  11. Sheila

    I have osteoporosis. How much Magnesium should I have every day along with the Trueosteo capsules I take as I do not think there is sufficient Magnesium in those capsules ?

    Thank you,Vivian for your very informative e-mails.

    • Rebecca Danis

      The USRDA for magnesium is 400mg per day, but some people can take more. You should take the type of magnesium that is best absorbed by the body. The best absorbed magnesium is liquid ionic magnesium chloride. I take Trace Minerals Research “Mega Mag” liquid ionic magnesium chloride. Magnesium Oxide, which is what most large chain drug stores offer, is only 4% bioavailable and is really not a good type of magnesium to take for magnesium supplementation.

      If you decide to take the Mega Mag, take it in a shot glass with a little juice because it tastes really bad. Also, as with any med or supplement, start one thing at a time, so you know for sure if it is that thing that might disagree with you, or you know for sure exactly how it is helping you. Also start low and slow, so start out the magnesium by taking 1 dropperfull of the Mega Mag per day. 1 dropperfull is 100mg. Then slowly work up to 2 dropperfulls (200mg) in am and 2 dropperfulls (200mg) in pm. Magnesium helps clear out excess calcium stored in soft tissues and helps put it back in the bone, but if you have lots of soft tissue calcification like I had, this can cause discomfort, so just build up the magnesium slowly to lessen the discomfort. I had a lot of excess calcium buildup on my neck vertebrae and when it was being cleared away from that area, it passed my neck and shoulder muscles and caused pain and cramping (since calcium causes muscle contractions), but the pain eventually went away. At any rate low and slow for any substance is always best.
      For more info you could read The Magnesium Miracle by Dr. Carolyn Dean, The Calcium Lie: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Can Kill You by Dr. Robert Thompson and Calcification: The Phosphate Factor in Aging and Disease by Mark Mayer. You can also watch Dr. Carolyn Dean and Dr. Robert Thompson on youtube.

      • Ann

        When you say low and slow about Mega Mag, how long between increasing dosage?

  12. Susan Baker

    Thank you very much for providing this very timely information. I wrote it all
    down. I will take this shopping and eventually have it memorized. The more I
    learn about your program the more I realize the need for fresh food, not processed


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Taking the information with you to the store is a great idea, Susan!

      • jeanette

        yes, me too. the more info we get the more we are “armed” against this disease.

  13. paul

    I just ordered the 52 exercises that increase bone density.i am a male.i hope these exercises also work for guys!! or am I mistaken.thanks. paul

  14. Maria

    Hi Vivian,
    Thanks for your valuable info. You mention “Teas” as containing “synthetic Sulfites”
    Does that include “Herbal Teas” or decaf teas?……I use a lot of herbal teas but sometimes I like a cup of coffee or decaf tea (once in a while not often)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Black tea is the main sulfite-containing tea, Maria – although the sulfites tend to occur naturally as part of the fermentation process (black tea is fermented green tea). Some brands use sulfites as part of the bleaching process of the tea bags as well. In addition, the FDA lists “instant tea” and “tea concentrates” as possibly containing sulfites. 🙂

      • Rebecca Danis

        Thank you for your article and this good information.

  15. Sylvia

    Do you think that these ingredients would always be listed on the labels if they are present ? Also, what do you think of Xanthan Gum ? Several of my gluten free recipes call for it. The bottle says 100% pure Xanthan Gum as the only ingredient.

  16. Marlene Villar

    Dear Vivian,
    Thank you very much! I truly appreciated all your excellent info.
    regarding our bone health. May GOD bless you as you continue to
    share what is best for us Take care always, Marlene

  17. shula

    Many Thanks

  18. Lil Mountjoy

    Thank for this info. I was wondering where does sodium benzoate fit in? I find it causes me much distress.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sodium benzoate is a chemical preservative, Lil – if it causes you much distress, you’d be wise to avoid it!

  19. Ann

    I use the organic canned black beans. Are they bad for you also? When you get down to it there isn’t much you can eat or drink and what about green tea. You mentioned teas as bad for you. Thanks for the information.

    • Ann

      Why do you never reply to my questions? This is the second time I have left you a message and I see no response.

      • Rebecca Danis

        Both black tea and green tea are very high in phosphorus. Coffee is also very high in phosphorus.

  20. Dan T

    Great article, thanks and don’t stop.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Dan, and I certainly don’t plan on stopping! 🙂

  21. Diane Nelson

    Does flavored seltzer, sparkling water, etc., contain phosphoric acid? I switched to these from soda with sugar or diet sodas to stay away from phosphoric acid, and I don’t see it listed in the ingredients – they just list carbonated water.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Not all flavored waters have phosphoric acid. Since you’re checking ingredients, if you don’t see it (or anything else harmful), it should be fine. 🙂

  22. Raymonde Savoie

    Vivian – THANK YOU SO MUCH For showing us these good supplement THIEVES and poisons that we don’t need in our foods!
    I have been staying away from some of them, but I wasn’t aware of all of them, so thank you for the enlightening information.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Raymonde! At Save Our Bones, we’re all about informing and empowering. 🙂

  23. Marilyn

    Hi Vivian,
    I’ve been taking Emerge C daily (2 packets a day) throughout the winter in place of the flu shot. This of course adds “fizz” to your beverage. I see there is aspartic acid in it.
    Is this the same as aspartame? Should I not take this product? I have osteoporosis now. Thanks for the info.

    • Rebecca Danis

      According to neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, in his book “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” aspartic acid is a neurotoxin and should be avoided. You can read his book or watch his talks on youtube.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Marilyn,
      Good for you for checking ingredients carefully! Aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid. It can be found in aspartame, although they are not the same things. There are concerns about aspartic acid’s effects on your nervous system. I suggest you do an internet search for “aspartic acid dangers” or “aspartic acid safety” to find more information.

  24. Florence

    I just went through my cupboard and removed some items that had snuck in while I was unaware

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I understand, Florence – it’s amazing how that happens!

  25. Applecore

    Vivian your explanations are so clear and informative. I wish I had learned from someone like you when I was a lot younger. But it is never too late to improve on one’s food choices. Perhaps one day, by what we choose to buy, we will influence big business to consider eliminating these harmful preservatives. Thank you so much for your information. I have the Save Your Bones book but THESE updates are even more valuable!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you so much – I am glad these updates are helpful to you! And a bone-healthy diet and lifestyle are always appropriate, no matter what age. 🙂

      • jeanette

        It will take many years for the food industry to change, if it ever does. In the meantime we must continue to struggle and be choosey with our food choices. In the meantime, I am grateful for what I have learned, from numerous sources. Its all starting to make sense.

  26. Rita

    Dear Vivian,
    Thank you for such clear and well researched info. as usual. This latest caveat on so many Foundation Foods that might contain the listed “BONE ROBBERS” hidden in the SMALL PRINT has really frightened me this morning. However, I live in the UK where so many of your recommended items of diet and safe, good supplements are sold under different names ( or not at all).
    Does someone else in our UK community have this problem and might perhaps
    have found a solution?

    Kindest Regards


    • Catherine

      Many thanks for this vital info Vivian. Hi Rita yes I have the same problem in the UK when checking the names for food additives and food has different names. We need a list of foods with the equivalent names for the UK, and probably other countries as well.
      I have been using Alpro almond milk instead of cows milk as Almond is better, but what is Tri-calcium phosphate and salt content do not sound to good. What do you use? What does the community use any ideas? warm regards yes I eat canned sardines as well Pearl

  27. Pearl

    Guar Gum is also used a lot in food for people who are gluten intolerant.
    I don’t have hardly any processed food, now thankfully & try to have as much organic veges as possible.

    I was surprised about white rice having sulfites though, i thought that it was just a polished grain ?
    Also i always thought just the canning of veges kept them preserved, I had no idea they added chemicals to preserve them.
    They certainly don’t put it on the labels, i have often wondered why they have to put sugar in them though.
    Again, thankfully, i eat very little canned food now except in an emergency, but I do have some canned sardines reguarly.
    Thanks Vivian.

  28. Jane Hunting

    As always Vivien, really interesting information here, thank you! The items that jumped out at me were the EDTA in canned beans, nitrates in Hot Dogs and synthetic sulphites in maraschino cherries ~ the latter being my favourite family topping for trifles! The occasional treat (a Hot Dog at the flicks for example) won’t be the same now! You mention Guar Gum in canned soups but I can’t find that on the ingredients list of Heinz Cream of Tomato soup with a hint of basil ~ which has no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives….? Perhaps it only applies to some soups. Many thanks for passing on your expert knowledge anyway….and have a nice day! 😀

    • Carol Mahoney

      Jane, I buy the organic brand Tillen Farms MERRY MARASCHINO. They are amazing tasting. No red dyes, GMO free, gluten free. Ingredients are cherries, sugar (2 grams), vegetable and fruit concentrate for color, and natural flavor.


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yes, you hit on something important, Jane – always check the ingredients list!

  29. Marc

    Hello Fellow Save Our Bones Community,

    Always have organic fruit and vegetables. They may be more expensive, but so is osteoporosis.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Well said, Marc! I couldn’t agree more.

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