What's in your food?
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. How can you identify food additives and are they healthy?
Below is a chart of common food additives and foods in which they are often found:
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 improve your health.
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
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats)
Preservative and emulsifier found in baked goods, peanut butter, margarine, and processed snack that is linked to heart disease
Evaporated cane juice
Goes through less processing than cane sugar but still similar effect on body although it sounds more natural
Brominated vegetable oil
Beverage emulsifier used to prevent flavor separation, linked to thyroid disorder and inflammation
Common in Chinese food, makes food taste better and effects satiety pathways leading to increased chances of overeating
Hydrolyzed soy (or vegetable) protein
Similar results and processing method as MSG but disguised under this name
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