Food additives are widely used in processed foods these days, but what are the most common food additives we need to be aware of, and what consequences might some of them have, good or bad, on our overall health?
Used to ensure safety and good condition during production and transportation, food additives can improve flavor, preserve ingredients, and add color to some of our favorite foods. From thickening agents to dyes, and sweeteners to stabilizers, they may be derived from natural ingredients or created in a laboratory.
We’ve listed five of the most common food additives found in American foods with details on how to use them in everyday products. We’ve also looked at the latest research and talked with experts to find out what effect these food additives have on our bodies and health. You might be surprised to learn what diseases and disorders some food additives have been linked to, and what health benefits others may carry.
What are food additives?
Food additives describe any substance that is added to food, whether during the production, processing, processing, packaging, transportation or storage of food. Most of the time they refer to ingredients that are added to food in order to achieve a specific purpose, such as adding texture, increasing shelf life, sweetening, improving flavor, or coloring food.
Food additives can come from plants, animals, minerals, or be created in a laboratory (synthetic).
Processed foods must contain food additives to ensure the safety and good condition of food products when purchased by consumers.
according to US Food and Drug Administration (Opens in a new tab) (FDA), food additives can help ensure that appropriate, nutritious and affordable food is available year-round. Food additives, color, are studied, regulated, and monitored by the Food and Drug Administration before they are added to foods and while they are used in foods.
However, according to Nutrition Studies Center (Opens in a new tab)US food products contain as many as 14,000 additives, some of which are banned in other countries. She says overuse of food additives can contribute to obesity and chronic disease.
All food additives must be listed on the product packaging. The FDA requires all color additives to be listed, but many food additives can be listed collectively under “flavorings” or “seasonings,” so it’s not always possible to know exactly which food additives go into your favorite products.
What are the most common food additives?
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate is a food additive that enhances flavor. It is naturally found in foods such as tomatoes and cheese but is usually produced by fermenting starch, molasses, sugar beets, or sugar cane.
MSG is often used in restaurant foods, deli meats, canned vegetables, and soups.
While the US Food and Drug Administration considers MSG to be “generally recognized as safe,” it has received it Side effect reports (Opens in a new tab) After eating foods containing monosodium glutamate. According to the Mayo Clinic, side effects include:
- water flow – drain
- Pressure or tightening in the face
- Numbness, tingling, or burning in the face, neck, and other areas
- fast heart rate
- feeling sick (nose)
- feel helpless
However, it is important to note that researchers have not been able to provide conclusive evidence for the association of these symptoms and MSG. In 2019, a reconsidering (Opens in a new tab) Of the purported health risks of MSG I found little supporting evidence. She also noted that several studies used large doses of MSG on participants who would never consume it through food.
We spoke to a registered dietitian and spokesperson Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Opens in a new tab), Whitney Linsenmeyer and asked what she thinks of the safety of MSG. “Although the safety of MSG has been discussed, the FDA considers MSG to be safe and has not found any links to adverse health outcomes,” Linsenmeyer says.
Whitney Linsenmayer, Registered Dietitian and Spokesperson Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Opens in a new tab). She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Saint Louis University where she teaches advanced nutrition, the foundations of nutrition, and innovation in the practice of dietetics. She graduated from Saint Louis University with a master’s degree in nutrition and culinary entrepreneurship and a doctorate in higher education management.
Peter O’Halloran, Dietitian and Nutrition ProYouth (Opens in a new tab) The ambassador agrees. “MSG has had a bad reputation ever since the doctor went to a Chinese restaurant in 1967,” he told Live Science. “About 20 minutes after eating his meal, he started feeling ill. He reported it in a medical journal. Since then, there has been a stigma attached to it. Other studies that followed also reported that MSG was highly toxic. However, these were studies on Rodents, not humans, were subsequently challenged by many issues regarding how the studies were conducted. There is no scientific data or evidence that proves MSG is harmful for consumption.”
ProYouth Nutrition Ambassador Peter O Halloran is an award-winning nutritionist in food science and sports science, personal trainer and online coach. He holds over 10 degrees in nutrition which includes a degree in food science and health, and has won the Irish Fitness Best Fitness Nutritionist/Nutritionist Award for the years 2018 and 2019.
2. Artificial food colorings (AFCs)
AFCs are dyes or pigments that are added to food and give it a certain color, such as candy, artificially flavored drinks and even cereal. Of all the food colors available, red 40, yellow 5, and yellow 6 are the most commonly used. In fact, these three food colorings make up 90% (Opens in a new tab) Of food coloring used in foods.
according to Food and Drug Administration (Opens in a new tab)Reactions to AFC are rare but can occur. Yellow 5, also known as tartrazine, can cause itching and hives in some people. The Cleveland Clinic (Opens in a new tab) It states that both yellow 5 and 6 can cause severe allergic reactions in people with asthma. Various studies have also linked AFCs to:
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (Opens in a new tab) He says more evidence is needed to understand how AFCs can affect a child’s behaviour. It states that parents concerned about their children’s behavior may find it helpful to eliminate AFC from their diet.
O’Halloran also adds: “When they are not broken down properly in the stomach, additives enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain, which can have adverse effects. There are many studies linking food additives to behavioral problems in children. I advise staying away from colors Synthetic food.”
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HFCS is derived from cornstarch. Cornstarch itself is 100% glucose, but to make HFSC, scientists add enzymes to convert some of that glucose into fructose, which is another type of sugar. Most common forms of HFCs contain 42% or 55% fructose. HFCs are often used in processed foods, baked goods, cereals, and soft drinks.
according to Cleveland Clinic (Opens in a new tab)HFCS is steadily creeping more and more into our daily diets. He warns that too many HFCs can cause obesity by increasing appetite. It may also contribute to diabetes, infections, certain types of cancer, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Some experts believe that our bodies metabolize HFCs differently than standard sugar, causing health concerns. in 2019 (Opens in a new tab) Researchers found that it increased intestinal tumors in mice, while a 2017 article in a refereed journal (Opens in a new tab) It has been claimed to increase the risk of compulsive eating, obesity and metabolic disorders.
4. Xanthan gum
Xanthan gum is used to thicken or stabilize foods. It’s a synthetic ingredient, created by fermenting sugar with bacteria to form a sticky substance. Alcohol is added to make it solid and then dried and turned into a powder.
Foods that commonly contain xanthan gum include baked goods, soups, ice cream, dressings, sauces, juices, and gluten-free products.
According to studies in Carbohydrate polymers (Opens in a new tab) and the Journal of Nutrition and Vitamin Sciences (Opens in a new tab)Xanthan gum has been found to lower blood sugar, especially after eating, which has led to calls for its use in treating people with diabetes. Studies have also linked it to other health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol (Opens in a new tab)And the Weight loss (Opens in a new tab) And the improve bowel function (Opens in a new tab).
“The Food and Drug Administration considers xanthan gum to be safe for human consumption,” says Linsenmeyer. “Due to its nature as a soluble fiber, it may have additional benefits for cholesterol and blood sugar levels.”
Carrageenan is a marine polysaccharide derived from seaweed. It is often used as a thickening agent in cream, yogurt, cheese, cut and prepared meats, canned soups, and frozen pizza.
Currently approved as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, carrageenan has become a controversial ingredient in recent years, with some scientists linking it to inflammation and digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.
According to one 2017 review (Opens in a new tab)There is a concern that carrageenan could break down in food products and become toxic when it meets acids in the stomach, triggering an inflammatory response. It was even listed before International Agency for Research on Cancer (Opens in a new tab) as a possible carcinogen.
However, many of the studies testing degraded carrageenan only used animals as subjects, not humans, so it’s unclear how carrageenan might affect people.
“Most people have no problem metabolizing carrageenan,” Linsenmeyer says. “Although a small number have reported symptoms such as bloating.”
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice.
#popular #food #additives #health