The presence of ascorbic acid in the ingredients of baby food as an antioxidant often deters mothers. A lot of people perceive it as a preservative. Let's try to figure out whether these concerns are justified.
In fact, L-ascorbic acid (Latin Acidum ascorbinicum) - this is vitamin C. As you know, vitamin C is necessary for normal human activity. It prevents scurvy, contributes to the oxidation of cholesterol, the process of regeneration and healing of tissues. In addition, vitamin C helps ensure normal immunological status.
L-ascorbic acid has a positive effect on the central nervous system, increases human resistance to extreme influences, is involved in ensuring the normal permeability of the walls of capillary vessels, increases their strength and elasticity. A shortage of vitamin C influences drowsiness and fatigue, the resistance of the human body to colds decreases.
Unlike most mammals and other animals, people are not able to independently synthesize vitamin C. The child, like an adult, receives the necessary amount of vitamin C from food. Its main sources are vegetables, fruits and berries. So the content of L-ascorbic acid in black currant is 200-500 mg / 100 g, in cabbage 50-70 mg / 100 g, in PIPnew potatoes 20-30 mg / 100 g. Unfortunately, L-ascorbic acid is extremely unstable, it is easy destroyed by oxygen in the air. Due to the instability of vitamin C, its content in vegetables and fruits decreases rapidly during storage. During heat treatment of food (including sterilization of canned food) L-ascorbic acid is destroyed by 25-70%.
But the addition of vitamin C to the product contributes not only to the replenishment of its natural content, L-ascorbic acid also acts as an antioxidant. The browning (darkening) of a product during the production and storage of many canned foods for baby food is associated with the destruction of the enzyme (in particular, during heat treatment). In this case, L-ascorbic acid can serve as a substance that slows the course of a chemical reaction of browning.
L-ascorbic acid should not be taken as a preservative in no cases. Since preservatives are substances that inhibit the development and vital activity of microorganisms (benzoic acid and its salts, sorbic acid and its salts, sulfur dioxide, pyrosulfites, etc.). L-ascorbic acid does not perform this function.
In addition, the technical regulations of the Customs Union, national sanitary norms and rules, hygienic standards prohibit the use of preservatives in the manufacture of products for baby food.
Thus, the presence of L-ascorbic acid in baby food indicates only that the manufacturers of canned food have garantee of preserving the natural content of vitamin C in the product and protecting it from oxidative reactions (particularly browning) during production and storage.