11 Dangerous food additives you should avoidFOOD See all FOOD posts
It is well known, that products on the supermarket shelves have nothing to do with farming, tired hands of farmers or rural romance. Fancy rows of products in perfect shape, color and identical in size. A challenge for the food chemistry – to improve the taste and appearance of products, to make their production low-cost and to increase their shelf life, so the costs, associated with the disposal of unsold goods can be avoided.
Often food chemistry works for the benefit of corporations and not for the benefit of consumers. Palm oil, corn syrup, trans fats, sucralose, colorants, aspartame, refined white flour, MSG and many others – these additives have certainly been in your shopping cart.
Additives in food products are dangerous for our health and that’s why we should avoid them. Here is a list of 11 food additives for which is known to harm person’s health.
1. Palm oil
Palm oil can be seen in the composition of condensed milk, sweets, cookies, fries, chocolate pasta, chocolate, instant noodles, potato chips, crackers.
Palm oil contains saturated fats. Saturated fats of vegetable origin are characterized by their ability to be stored for a long time without changing their properties. Palm oil is used in the production of margarine, substitutes of butter, spreads. It significantly extends the shelf life of these products, and improves their taste and color. But here, the list of benefits of the palm oil ends.
The ability of the fatty acids to increase blood cholesterol levels and induce the development of atherosclerosis, vascular thrombosis, heart disease, obesity make the palm oil unacceptable nutritional product for people of any age.
Palm oil makes the products cheaper, which is very profitable for the manufacturers. It also enhances the taste of products, which provokes addiction.
2. High fructose corn syrup
The most popular in the world product, containing 90% fructose is the corn syrup. This product can not be called useful, as it not only promotes rapid weight gain, but it can also be addictive. We don’t consume the corn syrup in its pure form, but it is often a part of popular sweets, such as turkish delight, marshmallows, nougat, chocolate bars with nougat. In addition, corn syrup is an ingredient of various soft drinks.
Sweets containing corn syrup in their composition, can be addictive. The daily consumption of foods with corn syrup endangers the health of the thyroid gland, stimulates increased blood glucose levels (which can result in diabetes), and causes increased weight and depression.
3. Monosodium glutamate – MSG or E621
Monosodium glutamate is contained in chips, restaurant food, salad sauces and soups. This is one of the most common synthetic flavorings. Most often it is used for products that have long shelf-life, but taste as if they are just prepared – pastries with long shelf-life, sauces and marinades, as well as dried soups and frozen meals.
The use of glutamic acid can only be in limited quantities, as in the human body glutamic acid is converted into gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is the causative agent of the central nervous system.
Excessive consumption of monosodium glutamate leads to the so-called “Chinese restaurant syndrome” (in the eastern kitchen monosodium glutamate is a very popular ingredient). Characteristic consequences are: headache, rapid heartbeat, nausea, chest pain, drowsiness and weakness.
It is forbidden to use monosodium glutamate in the production of baby food, bread, cereals, milk, flour, pasta, oils and juices, syrups, cocoa, tea and natural spices. Often in mixtures of spices along with the natural spices, MSG is also added. On the package it is commonly called “flavor enhancer”.
4. Refined white flour
White flour harms not only your figure, but also your health. It is thoroughly revised and almost deprived of all the nutrients, that have been in, before the processing of the cereals. Such flour contains a large number of empty calories and increases blood glucose levels. Products, made from white refined flour can cause fatigue, drowsiness and mood swings.
Products, including white bread, cereal noodles, pasta and other foods made from white flour increase the risk of type II diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
During the processing of grains are lost important nutrients, especially cellulose. Check the list of ingredients of such products, and select only those that are made of whole grains. Refined white flour should be replaced with flour from durum wheat, whole grain or a gluten-free version of it.
The sweetener used in products “without sugar”. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is about 160-200 times sweeter than sugar, it is odorless and highly soluble in water. Compared with the sugar taste, the sensation of sweetness from aspartame appears slower and remains longer. Aspartame is destroyed when heated, so it is not suitable for sweetening products subjected to heat treatment.
Aspartame is much sweeter and has less calories than sugar. But behind the pluses are hiding the minuses – dry mouth, headache, digestive problems, and with an overdose – convulsions. It is worth avoiding products high in sugar and its substitutes. As a substitute, you can use cane sugar or other organic sweeteners, as honey, agave syrup, maple syrup.
It is worth paying particular attention to the coloring agent Allura Red, also called Food Red 17, FD & C Red 40 – this is a red dye, used almost everywhere, from confectionery glaze to chips and sweet carbonated fruit and sport drinks. Its task is to make the food beautiful, attractive and slightly enhance the taste.
Tests have shown, that this dye causes hyperactive behavior in children (in adults this is less noticeable), which leads to neurological disorders and irritation of the center of hypersensitivity. As a “bonus” this preservative has possible carcinogenic properties. Similar properties has also the coloring agent tartrazine (E102), as well as a number of other dyes and preservatives – E104, E110, E122, E124, E129 and E211.
7. Trans fats
The terms “hydrogenated” and “partially hydrogenated” indicate addition of trans fats. Such are in the chips, margarine, donuts and so on. The higher they are in the list of ingredients, the more is their contents in a product. This kind of fats increase the concentration of “bad” cholesterol in blood. The amount of triglycerides in the body is also rising, as well as the risk of inflammatory processes.
According to the World Health Organization recommendations, the human body must obtain from the trans fat no more than 1% of the daily requirement of total energy consumption (about 2-3 grams). In 2009, the WHO revised this recommendation and recommended to completely remove the industrial trans fats from our menu.
Industrial trans fats (found in processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads) are not part of a healthy diet.
WHO experts say, that the question about natural trans-fats is still open, because of the small number of clinical data. In many countries, industrial trans fats are either banned or severely restricted.
8. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
These are two similar but non-identical, petroleum-derived chemicals, used as an antioxidant and preservative in oil-containing foods. BHA can be also seen as the E number E320 on the ingredients’ list. They are most commonly found in crackers, cereals, sausages, dried meats and other foods with added fats. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer considers BHA a possible human carcinogen.
This fat substitute adds no fat, calories, or cholesterol to products. In 1996 its use as a replacement of fats and oils in prepackaged, ready-to-eat snacks was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but in the late 1990s, Olestra lost its popularity due to its side effects.
It may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools (anal leakage). It is prohibited for sale in many markets, including the European Union and Canada, but products containing this ingredient can still be purchased at grocery stores in some countries.
10. Potassium bromate
Potassium bromate (E924) is typically used as a flour improver. It strengthens the dough and allows higher rising. This oxidizing agent has demonstrated carcinogenic effects and has also proven to be nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys) both in man and animals.
Its use has been banned in most countries, but not in the United States. A report in the July, 1990 issue of “Environmental Health Perspectives” states, that potassium bromate is found to promote the onset of tumors in the kidney and thyroid.
Azodicarbonamide is commonly used as bleaching agent in baking white bread, cakes and pastries. It keeps your bread fresh and soft, even after few days and also improves the flour’s strength and elasticity. Most European countries and Australia have banned the use of azodicarbonamide and some countries including Singapore have severe penalties for using it – 15 years in jail and $450,000 fine.
In the United States however, it has generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status and is allowed to be added to flour at levels up to 45 ppm. Azodicarbonamide has been linked to respiratory issues, asthma and allergies.