Food Additives: The Hidden Dangers
By Nmami Agarwal
Food additives are the functional substances which are intentionally added in food in order to assist its processing or to improve certain characteristics like aroma, taste, texture, packaging or shelf life. Ironically, the added life and enhanced appearance of the food comes with major health risk factors.
Today, more than 2500 additives are intentionally added in food in order to get the desired effect. The use of additives has been increased during the past years as foods are processed for conversion into a variety of products. In that area, we are here with few frequently used health degenerating food additives and its related health risks that will help you choose your food more wisely in future. Have a look!
Food additives and related risks
- Preservatives: Sulfites are preservatives and antioxidants which are used to prevent dry fruits to turn brown and stops unwanted bacteria to spoil the wine. Sulfites can cause allergic reactions, hives and may lead to an asthma attack. Sulfur dioxide, metabisulfites etc. are the examples of sulfur additives nitrites and nitrates are added by manufacturers in food like sauces, salami, and bacon to give them colour and increase the shelf life. Nitrites and nitrates in processed foods can form nitrosamines which can increase the risk of developing cancer. BHA, BHT, EDTA are the examples of other preservatives.
- Artificial flavors: Artificial flavors are the chemical substance which is used to mimic a natural flavor in some way. There are numerous artificial flavors and these can cause dizziness, chest pain, headaches, fatigue, depression, mental issues and much more. Diacetyl, ethyl decadienoate, ethyl maltol, and methyl anthranilate are examples of chemicals used to add flavors.
- Artificial colours: Artificial colours make food bright and appealing and are added in beverages, desserts, candies, cereals, and some meat products. Food coloring leads to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children. These can also cause severe allergy and formation of asthma. Some of the artificial colours are blue 2, green 3, yellow3, yellow6 and red 3.
- Artificial Emulsifier: Emulsifier has the ability to form an emulsion and it also has the ability to interact with other food ingredients. It is used as an aerating agent and starch complexion agent. It is used in bread, salad dressings, chocolates, and ice creams to make it smoother and resistant to melting. The emulsifier is linked with metabolic syndrome which includes obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. It also leads to inflammatory bowel diseases which affect digestion.
Nature has already provided us with a lot of substances which can be added in order to add flavors, colors, textures, and increase the life of food. Synthetic food additives may enhance the appearance, flavors, and aroma but it is better to use natural ingredients instead.
Over to You
It is better to have nutrients and flavors in the original form rather chemical in order to save ourselves from a lot of health risks and more than adding life to food it is important to add more to own life.
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