As we continue our way into the 21st century, science is developing every day. With these developments came food additives – however does our new understanding of the science of additives mean that we are compromising the health and wellbeing of our bodies? Here I’m going to discuss this a little, with my list of 8 Food Additives To Steer Clear Of.
1. Artificial Sweeteners
We all love sweet things: chocolate, candy and cakes are just three of the many foods that we devour on our quest for sugar. However the various ‘sugar free’ or ‘diet’ foods available – such as sodas and juices – often contain artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (E951).
You may be wondering why Aspartame is worth avoiding – it is, after all, making things sweet whilst not contributing to the calorie amount. Well the answer is simple: it is a neurotoxin and carcinogen, known to affect your short-term memory and erode intelligence. The sweetener is believed to contribute to brain tumors, lymphoma, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and depression. When you next go for the diet soda, take a look at the bottle to see what it contains, just to be safe.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
As the food additive that contributes to the calories in foods most in the United States, HFCS is not good for your health. The highly-refined artificial sweetener has been known to increase ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in your body, and contributes to the development of diabetes.
HFCS is found in many processed foods, such as bread, candy and even canned vegetables. If you are worried about your health, it’s worth steering clear of HFCS – if not because of the calories that it contains, then because of the long-term health associations.
3. Monosodium Glutamate
Otherwise known as E621, MSG is used to enhance the flavor in many products that we consume on a daily basis: cookies, soups, salad dressings and potato chips are just a few of the products laden with it. As E621 is an excitotoxin, it has been known to cause depression, eye damage, headaches and obesity – not a food additive that you want yourself or your kids consuming in quantity.
4. Trans Fats
The trans fats food additives are used to extend the shelf-life of foods. However this is not an innocent additive: it is one of the most dangerous that you can consume regularly and is found in many fried fast foods and margarine. Why is this food additive so bad? It lowers the ‘good’ cholesterol level in your body, and has been known to increase the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. Oh, and it also can lead to diabetes and inflammation.
Although banned in the Netherlands, the United States government has not banned products containing trans fats. In small doses it is not a problem, but if you consume a lot of it you could have health problems later in life.
5. Food Dyes
Everyone loves the occasional colorful food item: we use food colorings and dyes in many bakery goods such as cakes and icings. However there are a few colorings that you should try and avoid due to their connection with cancers and behavioral problems.
E133 – Blue: This food additive is banned in Finland, France and Norway, and has been found to cause chromosomal damage to developing children. It can be found in candies, kids’ cereals and soft drinks.
E124 – Red: This coloring has been found to cause thyroid cancer, and was actually banned in 1990. However it is still being used until the supplies run out, so try and avoid fruit cocktails, cherry pie mixes, ice cream and candies that contain this coloring.
E110 and E102 – Yellow: This coloring is banned in Norway and Sweden due to its link with kidney and gland tumors in laboratory animals, which may also cause damage to chromosomes. American cheese, candies and lemonade have been known to contain this additive.
6. Sodium Sulfite
Also known as E221, Sodium Sulfite is used to wine-making as a preservative. It is believed that sulfites can cause problems for those that are more sensitive to them, especially people suffering from asthma. In the very worst-case scenario, a bad reaction to E221 could lead to your airway closing down resulting in cardiac arrest.
7. Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite
These additives are used as preservatives, flavorings and colorings in processed meats. Bacon, ham, corned beef, smoked fish and hot dogs are known to contain these products, which can cause damage to the liver and pancreas. Try and stay as far away from these as you can.
Thank you for reading my list of 8 Food Additives To Steer Clear Of. Please do note that these products are often found in everyday food items and are unlikely to cause you harm if you consume them irregularly, but it may be better for the wellbeing of your family if you think about which products may contain them. Please leave a comment if you come across any more dangerous food additives, so that we can all know what to try and avoid in future.
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