Sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate) is widely used as a preservative, antimicrobial agent, color fixative and flavoring in cured meats and other products.
Why You May Want to Avoid Nitrites. Though this preservative has been studied for more than 50 years, there is still ongoing debate as to whether or not it’s harmful. Some experts say that the health claims against the preservative have “not been substantiated” while others recommend avoiding them in your diet entirely.
Numerous studies have found that nitrites contribute to a variety of negative health effects, which we’ve compiled here.