Our ancestors used natural preservatives such as salt to preserve meats and fish, sugar to preserve fruits, vinegar solution to pickle cucumbers and added herbs and spices to enhance food flavor, thus retaining the health quotient of the foods at no cost of our health. Food additives serve the same purpose these days, but some of them at the cost of health and nutrition.
Food Additives & their Disadvantages
In simple words, food additives are substances added to food. These substances can be added in the production, processing, treatment, packaging, transportation or storage stage. Food additives have been used for centuries to make the food look better, taste better and stay for prolonged times. Food color additives have also been linked to ADHD problems, details of which are available in the website www.firsteatright.com. But are we really aware of what goes into these additives to help foods have a longer shelf life? We are eating so many different processed foods and hence, consuming abundant artificial food additives. Few additives are extremely bad and can cause dangerous health problems. Those include:
- Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, is the main ingredient contributing to the sweet flavor of foods labeled “diet” or “sugar free”. A carcinogen, aspartame has the ability to erode intelligence, make your memory go sluggish and cause numerous diseases such as brain tumor, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, emotional disorders, migraines and seizures. Your sugar-free sodas, diet cokes, baking goods, cereal, pudding, ice tea and toothpaste contain this dangerous food additive.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
A highly-refined artificial sweetener, HFCS is found in most of the processed foods. It loads up an individual’s body with abundant calories, elevated bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increases the risk of diabetes and tissue damage. Most of the processed foods, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, candy, canned vegetables and cereals contain high fructose corn syrup.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG/E621)
An excitotoxin, MSG overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Including MSG regularly can end up in depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches and obesity. MSG is used to add flavors in restaurant foods, chips, snacks, cookies and seasonings.
- Trans Fat
Trans fat is one of the most dangerous additives to be consumed. Used to increase the shelf life of foods, trans fats are formed using the hydrogenation process. Including trans fat in your diet can lead to increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and other health issues as well. Trans fats are commonly found in baked goods, chips, crackers and fast foods.
- Food Dyes
Our colorful cakes, candies, macaroni and fruit punches contain different fruit dyes. These can reduce the IQ quotient in children and cause behavioral problems in them.
- Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
Although sodium nitrate sounds harmless and is commonly used as a preservative in hot dogs, ham, bacon and other processed meat products, it becomes carcinogenic once it enters the digestive system and can damage the liver, pancreas and other internal organs.
- Sulfur Dioxide (E220)
Sulfur additives are toxic and can lead to bronchial problems, especially in individuals at an increased risk of asthma, hypotension, anaphylactic shock and tingling sensations.