WHY THE FOOD INDUSTRY USES ADDITIVES TO FOODS
When foods are processed, not only are valuable nutrients lost and dietary fiber removed, but the texture and natural variation and flavours are also lost. After processing, what’s left behind is a bland, uninteresting “PSEUDO-FOOD” that most people would not like to eat. Therefore, at this point, food manufacturers must add back in some of the nutrients, flavour, colour and texture to processed foods in order to make them PALATABLE (TASTY), and this is why they become LOADED WITH FOOD ADDITIVES.
Most commonly, additives are included to prevent or delay (slow) spoilage, to stop fats and oils from going rancid (from damage by free radicals), prevent fruits from turning brown, fortify or enrich the food with synthetic vitamins and minerals to replace the natural ones that were lost during processing, and improve taste, texture and appearance.
When reading product packages, here are some of the most common food additives to watch out for:
I) PRESERVATIVES: sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, BHA, BHT, TBHQ;
(II) SWEETENERS AND ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: fructose, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K);
(III) ARTIFICIAL COLORS: FD&C Blue Nos. 1 and 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red Nos. 3 and 40, FD&C Yellow Nos. 5 and 6, Orange B, Citrus Red No. 2;
(IV) ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS;
(V) FLAVOR ENHANCERS: monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract.
BELOW ARE THE TOP OFFENDERS PEOPLE SHOULD AVOID
1) COLORING AGENTS: blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6. THEY ARE FOUND IN: Cake, candy, macaroni and cheese, medicines, sport drinks, soda, pet food, and cheese. Most artificial colors are made from coal tar, which is a carcinogen
2) OLESTRA (AKA OLEAN): present in fat-free potato chips. This additive causes depletion of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids. Side effects include oily anal leakage, that is, fatty diarrhea.
3) BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL: (aka BVO) which can be found in some sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas. BVO competes with iodine for receptor sites in the body, which can lead to hypothyroidism (decreasing the activity of the thyroid gland), autoimmune disease, and cancer. THE MAIN INGREDIENT, BROMINE, IS A POISONOUS, CORROSIVE CHEMICAL, LINKED TO MAJOR ORGAN SYSTEM DAMAGE, BIRTH DEFECTS, GROWTH PROBLEMS, SCHIZOPHRENIA, AND HEARING LOSS
(4) POTASSIUM BROMATE: (aka brominated flour) found in Rolls, wraps, flat-bread, bread crumbs, and bagel chips. This additive is associated with kidney and nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal discomfort (see bromine above).
5) AZODICARBONAMIDE: present in breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods. This compound has been linked to asthma.
6) BHA and BHT can be found in cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. BHA may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent. BHT can cause organ system toxicity.
7) Synthetic hormones: rBGH and rBST: May be present in milk and dairy products. They are linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
8) Arsenic may be found in poultry: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies inorganic arsenic as a “human carcinogen”.
MY ONLY ADVICE IS THIS: TRY TO EAT AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE!
These are the thoughts of:
Sa’eed Halilu Bawa
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad.
Studied Food and Nutrition Sciences, Dietetics at Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria; Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland.