Read all food labels and stay away from these top 10 food additives that, though most harmful, are commonly used.
There are billions of consumers out there and only a few manufacturers of food. This means that to meet consumer demands, manufacturing companies need efficient processes in order to be in the competition. Enter food additives that serve to present and preserve packaged foods for consumer satisfaction. Thanks to federal laws, companies are now required to print all food ingredients on food packages. That means we are allowed to choose what we eat. Here are 10 of the food additives that we need to stay away from.
Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite
What: Food preservative; helps retain red coloring in processed meat products.
Effects: Its chemical component contains carcinogens, and when accumulated in the body, can lead to stomach, prostate, and breast cancers. It has also been found to cause fetal deaths, miscarriages, and birth defects among animals in the laboratory.
Option: Seek for nitrate or nitrite-free meat products.
Butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) and Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
What: Common among processed foods and also in cereals, potato chips, vegetable oils, and chewing gums
Effects: Increases the risk of cancer development, liver enlargement, and hampers cell growth.
What: Found in stocked chicken soup, gum, and in a few processed meat products.
Effect: Still being suspected as a carcinogen, propyl gallate is found to cause gastrointestinal, kidney, and liver problems.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
What: An artificial flavor enhancer, MSG is found in canned soups, chips, crackers, salad dressings, and frozen foods. It is also disguised under label entries like “spices,” “natural flavoring,” and “seasonings.”
Effects: Found to cause dizziness and nausea.
Hydrogenated vegetable oil
What: Known as a trans fat, this can be found in microwave popcorn, chips, pastries, cookies, pies, cakes, lard, margarine, cottonseed oil, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil.
Effects: Cardiovascular diseases like stroke, kidney failure, and other heart diseases.
Options: Virgin olive oil and other monounsaturated fats.
What: An ingredient in gelatin, frozen desserts, yogurt, puddings, diet sodas, low-calorie diets, and children’s vitamins.
Effect: Can cause food poisoning and makes up the bulk of consumer complaints directed to the FDA.
Options: Xylitol and Stevia which are natural sweeteners.
What: Food sweetener and has been recently approved by the FDA as a food additive in baked goods, diet soda, gelatin desserts, and chewing gums.
Option: Xylitol and Stevia as healthy sweeteners.
Food colorings 1, 2, 3, and 6
What: These are blue, red, green, and yellow. Used in beverages, baked goods, and candies, cherries, fruit cocktail, sausage, and gelatin.
Effects: Causes tumors in the different parts of the body like the kidneys and adrenal glands.
Olestra or olean
What: Artificial fat preventing healthy fat absorption in the digestive system and can be found in potato chips.
Effects: Found to cause diarrhea, intestinal problems, and other gastrointestinal problems.
What: Bleaching agent in white flour and can be found in pizza dough, breads, and rolls.
Effect: Found to cause cancer in both animals and humans.
Option: Un-bromated flour products.
As a supplement to the above, other additives that can be harmful are also high fructose corn syrup and sodium chloride.
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