Food additives are defined by the food industry as “any of a number of chemicals and other products incorporated into processed foods, including flavorings, preservatives, and dyes”. The Food and Drug Administration claims that food additives are a necessary means for food production. But what role do food additives play and how can we identify them?
Below is a chart of common food additives and where they may be located:
So are food additives safe? The FDA spends time and various resources to determine the safety and impact of additives. While food additive use is researched and regulated, many have still been linked to health problems. Although it may be difficult to completely eliminate food additives from your diet, decreasing your intake of highly processed foods can only be beneficial in the long run.
Below is a list of additives that, although cleared by the FDA, are considered potentially harmful.
Aspartame and Acesulfame-K
Potentially carcinogenic artificial sweeteners linked to kidney defect and emotional disorder
Blue 1 and 2, Red 3, and Yellow 5 and 6
Color additives linked to ADHD, thyroid defect and kidney tumors
Preservatives used to improve color in packaged meat, potentially carcinogenic and linked to defected digestion
Preservative found in crackers, cereal, beer linked to neurological defect; BHA is known to be carcinogenic
Preservative used to keep meat such as chicken fingers and sausages tender during storage, linked to heart and kidney disease
Possibly carcinogenic food additive used in many beverages
Specific additives linked to weight gain
High fructose corn syrup
Preservative and emulsifier found multitude of grocery products linked to weight gain, increased LDL cholesterol, and diabetes
Obesity rate has risen in conjunction with increased use of HFCS