Additives to Avoid


The Danger of Food Additives to Your Health


For a number of years, many of you have been consuming foods that contain a large percentages of additives which are actually not good for your health. For this reason, it is important that you learn more about additives so that you will be able to make wiser choice in all your future food selections. Having said this, let's first define food additives, then take a brief look at a list of additives along with their usage, and possible health risks.

What are food Additives?

They are substances used in producing, processing, treating, packaging, transporting, or for storing food to enhance, enrich or lengthen its grocery store shelf life (allow it to stay on the shelf of the grocery store longer). Food additives have been around for a very long time. One good example is salt, people have been using it for many decades to preserve meat. 

 The following are five broad types of additives:-
1.     Nutrients
2.     Preservative
3.     Processing aids
4.     Flavorings
5.     Colorings


·        Vitamins and minerals used to increase the nutritional value of a food
·        Referred to as fortification
·        Add nutrients missing in diet (ex. Vitamin A and D added to milk)


·        Various chemicals used to preserve foods
·        Examples: BHT(butylated hydroxytoluene) & BHA(butylated hydroxyanisole) - prevents fats from getting rancid in vegetable oils, potato chips, cereals and others
·        Also, nitrates and nitrites used to preserve meat
·        Ascorbic acid, citric acid, vitamin E, ( natural substances) - found to  have same preservative effects as the above

Processing Aids

·        Keep food particles evenly mixed, and homogeneous ( ex. lecithin, mono- and diglycerides & polysorbate)
·        Also stabilize, thicken, improve consistency & desired texture ( ex. gums, gelatin, pectin, cellulose, starch)
·        For texture, taste and buffer - controlling acidity or alkalinity of food ( ex. citric acid, acetic acid, alkalis)


·        Most Commonly used additives
·        Ex: sugar, salt, corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and malt


·        Artificial colors(Ex. Red #2, Yellow #5) – very controversial
·        Safety – under investigation
·        May be carcinogenic
·        Natural colors(carotene, caramel, fruit juice)

1.     Nitrates and nitrites are known to promote cancer in laboratory animals
2.     Studies shown BHA and BHT(used in raw and cooked meat-based toppings for pizza and meatballs cause cancer in rats
3.     Others studies found they may actually prevent cancer in some circumstances?

To prevent the long term health effect of food additives, it’s best  to limit the usage or intake of each of the above, by eating mainly fresh or food with minimal additives. Salt for example --- one of the primary ingredients used for flavoring our food --- is the only mineral that is just too abundant in most of our diets.

Although it essential to our health, at the same time, it can also causes health issues. Sodium pulls water into our blood vessels and thus helps us to maintain both normal blood volume and pressure. Another benefit of sodium is that it helps with normal functioning of the nerves and muscles.

The problem is however, the body only needs just a small amount of sodium to carry out these functions, yet we are consuming way too much over the required daily limit. This may lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and eventually, higher risk for stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. For this reason, you should also pay very close attention to the amount of salt you use when you cook or prepare food.

What You Need to Know About MSG the Most Widely Used Food Flavor Enhancer 

You might have seen at least one Food label with this written in Bold "No MSG", but how much do you really know about this food flavor enhancer "MSG"?

Does any of the following apply to you?
1.Don't remember seeing this
2.Can recall seeing this, wondered why, but never actually get around to do your own investigation.
3.Saw it, but never paid much attention to it.

then this might be an opportunity for you to discover the main reason(s) "No MSG" was highlighted on those labels.

What is MSG
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer, is said to be one of the
world’s most extensively used food additives which is ingested as part of commercially
processed foods.

Based on findings, it's believed to increase the taste of food, and produces
a flavor that cannot be provided by other foods.

Health Risk of  MSG

Although in several animal and human studies, MSG  has shown to effect
the central nervous system, adipose tissue, liver, reproductive organs and other systems.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's "generally recognized as safe." However, because the use of MSG remains very controversial, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.

Veronika Husarova and Daniela Ostatnikova (2013),“Monosodium Glutamate Toxic Effects and Their Implications for Human Intake: A Review,”JMED Research, Vol. 2013 (2013), Article ID 608765, DOI: 10.5171/2013.608765

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