Rating: cut back

Acidulant, chelating agent, buffer, emulsifier, nutrient, discoloration inhibitor: Baked goods, cheese, powdered foods, cured meat, soda pop, breakfast cereals, dehydrated potatoes.

Phosphoric acid acidifies and flavors cola beverages; the acidity erodes tooth enamel. Calcium and iron phosphates act as mineral supplements. Sodium aluminum phosphate is a leavening agent. Calcium and ammonium phos­phates serve as food for yeast in baking. Sodium acid pyrophosphate reduces levels of the carcinogen acrylamide in French fries, prevents discoloration in potatoes and sugar syrups, and prevents the formation of harmless mineral (struvite) crystals in canned seafood. Sodium phosphates help retain moisture in processed meats and prevent stru­vite crystals from forming in canned tuna. Most people consume far more phosphorus than they need, which may have adverse effects on kidney, bone, and cardiovascular health, especially for people suffering from kidney disease.