Home / Learn More / Acetaldehyde in Food – What foods should I be aware of?
Acetaldehyde in Food – What foods should I be aware of?

Acetaldehyde in Food – What foods should I be aware of?

Foods high in acetaldehyde

Acetaldehyde is found in a variety of common foods and beverages, like fermented foods, of which those with ALDH2 Deficiency should be aware. Find out which foods and beverages have the highest amounts of acetaldehyde. 

Acetaldehyde is an extremely common toxin, found mainly in alcohol, air pollution, and smoke. It is even produced by our own bodies in small quantities. However, less understood is the concentration in other foods and beverages. Recent research reveals which foods are high in acetaldehyde and should be a potential concern for those with ALDH2 Deficiency. This is important because eating foods that have significant amounts of acetaldehyde can increase the risk of cancers of the digestive tract.

What common foods and beverages have acetaldehyde?

Below is a list of fruits, vegetables, beverages, and dairy products, and the concentration of acetaldehyde in each in milligrams per kilogram (mg/Kg). These are foods that tested higher than 1 mg/Kg. The graph summarizes the totals for these groups by each category. In general, fruits have more acetaldehyde than vegetables and other foods. Artificial flavors like lemon flavoring can be very high in acetaldehyde. Ground and instant coffee has some of the highest levels of acetaldehyde of any non-alcoholic foods and vegetables. The research measuring acetaldehyde levels in these foods can be found here and here.

Amounts of acetaldehyde in food


Nectarine - 5; White Peach - 6: Melon - 20; Yellow Peach - 7; Water Melon - 19; Orange - 11; Plum - 4; Oriental Melon - 14; Grape - 3; Green Apple - 2; Asian Pear - 3; Kiwi - 2; Pineapple - 12.


Garlic - 6; Cucumber - 2; Carrot - 2; Onion - 1; Pickles - 3; Sweet Corn - 1; Sauerkraut - 2; Pease - 5; Wheat and Rye Bread - 3; Vinegar - 3; Lemon Flavoring - 26; Orange Flavoring - 14.


Ground Coffee - 20; Instant Coffee - 3 to 36; Green Tea - 2; Green Tea Powder - 2; Earl Grey Tea - 10; Apple Juice - 6; Orange Juice - 6; Iced Tea - 4; Orange Soda - 15; Carrot Juice - 3.


Yogurt - 7; Sour Cream - 1 to 6; Ice Cream Cone - 2.

Acetaldehyde in fermented foods 

Some foods are made through fermentation by micro-organisms like yeast, fungi, or bacteria. Acetaldehyde is a byproduct of fermentation. This means that foods that are fermented can have high amounts of acetaldehyde. Types of fermented foods that may be high in acetaldehyde include yogurt, vinegar, kombucha, fish products, fermented mushrooms, fermented soy products, pickled vegetables, canned vegetables, and kimchi. Eating high amounts of these types of foods may cause damage to the digestive tract, particularly in those with ALDH2 Deficiency.

Acetaldehyde from diets high in sugar 

Candida albicans is a type of naturally occurring yeast in our stomach. These yeast produce acetaldehyde when they metabolize sugars from our diet. When we eat sugar, the yeast ferment some of it, producing acetaldehyde. When we eat a lot of sugar in our diet, these yeast populations can grow out of control. This overgrowth, called candidiasis, means more production of acetaldehyde in the stomach, which can damage the stomach lining, kill healthy gut bacteria, and may increase the risk of stomach cancers.

Those with ALDH2 Deficiency should be aware of foods they consume that are high in acetaldehyde, and should avoid high-sugar diets. Essential AD2 is clinically proven to reduce acetaldehyde accumulation and improve liver health in those with ALDH2 Deficiency.