Tripotassium phosphate (TKP), also known as tripotassium monophosphate or tripotassium phosphate, is a chemical compound with the formula K3PO4.
It is used as a food additive for its properties as a foaming agent, emulsifier, and whipping agent. In combination with fatty acids, this chemical can be used as an antimicrobial agent in poultry processing.
It is also used in the food industry. Increased pH makes the product more creamy or yellow in color giving a richer appearance.
In addition, the high alkalinity of this chemical is advantageous when faster cooking rates are desirable in cooked breakfast cereals.
Furthermore, it might lessen lactic acid (this acid is made in muscle cells and red blood cells) build up in the muscles. Therefore, some athletes use it to increase physical performance.
It is known to irritate the gastric mucosa. Excessive consumption of this chemical can result in a mineral imbalance, leading to a loss of bone calcium and kidney calcification.
Other reported side effects include – weakness in any part of your body, confusion, severe diarrhea, muscle tightness, nausea, or numbness in your arms or legs.
Some people also experience allergic reactions with symptoms including:
- swelling of the mouth, lips, face, tongue, or throat;
- unusual hoarseness;
- tightness in the chest or throat;
Trisodium phosphate (TSP), also known as trisodium orthophosphate, is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula of Na3PO4.
It is a white, granular or crystalline solid which mostly comes in the form of white powder.
It is typically used as a food additive, cleaning agent, stain remover and degreaser. Additionally, it is also used as an emulsifier, and as a thickening and nutrition enlargement agent in manufactured foods.
Moreover, it is used to reduce the acidic nature of foods, particularly breakfast cereals, as it helps in the cereal’s flow through the extruder and modifies cereal color.
Some other foods and products that contain this food additive include:
- baby toothpaste;
- processed meats;
- hair coloring and bleaching products;
- commercial cakes and baked goods (added as a leavening agent);
- many canned soups;
- processed cheese;
According to a recent study, TSP loading (1000 mg 4 times per day) has been shown to influence the maximal and run performance in 7 male competitive runners.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, a person can consume up to 70 mg of this food additive every day and not expose herself or himself to any health risks.
However, (with this food additive being used in thousands of consumer products), an average American can be exposed to more than 500 mg of trisodium orthophosphate a day.
Excess intake of this food additive may produce an imbalance of minerals which lead to calcification of the kidneys and loss of calcium from bones – a condition called osteoporosis (it is the most common reason for a broken bone among the seniors).
Important note – an estimated 500,000 Americans receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures every year due to osteoporosis.
Eating foods that contain this food additive regularly can lead to high levels of phosphate in the blood.
There is an association between cardiovascular disease and death and blood phosphorus levels, including in people with no heart disease at baseline, according to a 2010 study that was published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
If you have hyperphosphatemia (high phosphate levels in the blood), no medical treatment is typically required (only the need to limit dietary phosphate intake) in the setting of normal renal function as hyperphosphatemia is self-resolving.
Some people may require phosphate binders for mild persistent asymptomatic hyperphosphatemia in the setting of mild to moderate renal failure.
Important Note – according to recent research, high levels of phosphate may increase mortality rates for the general public.
Bottom Line – Tripotassium Phosphate vs Trisodium Phosphate
Tripotassium phosphate is found as colorless crystals or white powder. It is soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol. It can be used as an emulsifier, foaming agent, and whipping agent. It is a potential antimicrobial agent in poultry processing combined with fatty acids.
Trisodium phosphate is an additive and flavor enhancer found in many frozen and processed foods, such as – processed meat, commercial bakes, processed cheese, nutritional supplements, canned foods, and even cereals.
In conclusion, these food additives should not be part of a regular diet and consumers should avoid foods that contain them.