Preservatives in processed food cause heart disease and high blood pressure, researchers have confirmed this week. They are one cause of the epidemic of chronic kidney disease which, in turn, leads to heart problems and hardening of the arteries.
Phosphates in processed foods, including processed cheeses and cola drinks, stimulate production of the hormone FGF23, which controls levels of sodium in the body. High levels of the hormone also mean high levels of sodium, say researchers at Vetmedumi Vienna. People with kidney disease also have raised levels of FGF23 and sodium, and this causes cardiovascular disease, they say.
The hormone also controls calcium levels. If the body has high levels of FGF23, the kidneys absorb higher levels of calcium, and this reaction causes hardening of the arteries, or vascular calcification.
(Source: EMBO Journal, 2014; doi: 10.1002/emmm.201303716; and 201284188)