Food additives vary from common food ingredients found in the kitchen such as sugar and salt to the uncommon. They have been used for centuries to maintain the freshness, improve flavor and taste, and to prolong the shelf-life of foods. Food additives help ease processing, packaging, and storage of food. These additives, however, need to be added to food in acceptable amounts since some of the food additives may have a negative impact on health.
Studies show that in the typical American household, about 90 percent of the food they consume is processed foods making them exposed to artificial food additives in which many of which have consequences to health.
Here are some of the food additives that you should avoid as much as possible:
1. Trans Fat
This additive is used to enhance the shelf- life of food products. It is mostly found in deep-fried foods such as what we buy in fast food and any food that has margarine and vegetable oils, as well as other food that undergo hydrogenation.
Trans fat affects the cholesterol levels in the body which causes an increased risk of congenital heart diseases.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is found in many food products. It is used as a sweetener calls for prompt action of regulatory agencies due to its role as a carcinogen. Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic that can cause cancer.
3. Food Coloring
Studies show that some food that uses food dyes uses food colors that are made from chemicals that should be avoided. According to research, artificial coloring found in soda and juices may cause behavioral problems in children that can lead to a reduction in IQ.
Dyes such as Blue #1 and #2, Red #3 and #40, Yellow #6 and Yellow Tartrazine are some of the dyes that were found to have carcinogenic components that can cause cancer.
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many soups, chips, and many restaurant dishes. It is often used to bring out the flavor of the food, however, it is a type of excitotoxin or a substance that causes damage to cells by overexciting it. Side effects of too much consumption may result in depression, eye damage, fatigue, headache, and obesity.
5. Potassium Bromate
Potassium Bromate is an additive that is used to increase the volume of bread. It is known to cause cancer to animals as well as can create problems for human even in small amounts.
6. High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS is a highly refined artificial sweetener that is present in almost all processed foods. In America, it has become one of the causes of obesity in America. HFCS increases bad cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of tissue damage and diabetes.
7. Nitrates and Nitrites
Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrites are preservatives used to preserve processed meats like hams, hot dogs, bacon and luncheon meats. They are used to maintain the red color and prevent bacterial growth in meats. Consumption of foods rich in nitrites and nitrates increases the risk of cancer.