There is a lot of controversy surrounding food additives and their potential health effects. Some people argue that many of these chemicals can severely negatively impact our health. In contrast, others insist that they are simply benign substances that help improve the quality and taste of our processed food.
Despite these disagreements, there are some additives that almost everyone agrees should be avoided. These include MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and sulphites.
These ingredients can cause headaches, nausea, autoimmune disorders, or allergic reactions; best to avoid them wherever possible. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not to incorporate these additives into their diet. Still, it may be wise to limit your consumption or avoid them altogether for your health.
Processed food, hidden dangers
Processed foods are everywhere. They’re convenient, affordable, and tasty. But what you may not know is that many processed foods contain additives that can be harmful to your health. Here are some of the most dangerous food additives you should avoid:
- Artificial colouring agents: Many processed foods contain artificial colouring agents like Yellow 5 and Blue 2. These agents have been linked to several health problems, including cancer and ADHD.
- Preservatives like sodium benzoate and BHA have been linked to cancer and other health problems. Avoid processed foods that contain these preservatives.
- MSG: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavour enhancer often added to processed foods. MSG has been linked to several health problems, including migraines, obesity, and diabetes.
Additives to think twice about
There are several food additives that you should avoid. Some, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), can cause adverse reactions in some people. Others, such as artificial sweeteners, may not be harmful in small amounts but could have negative long-term effects if consumed in large quantities.
1. Sodium Nitrites
Sodium nitrites are a food additive found in processed meats such as bacon, ham, and hot dogs. While the FDA approves them, they are worth avoiding because they have been linked to cancer. Sodium nitrites form carcinogenic compounds when they come into contact with stomach acids. These carcinogens can damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer.
Sulphites as a food additive have been controversial for many years. Some people are allergic to sulphites and experience an asthma attack after eating food with sulphites. Others believe that sulphites are harmful and can cause headaches, skin rashes, and other health problems.
Sulphites are a type of preservative used to prevent foods from spoiling. They are also used to improve the appearance of some foods, such as dried fruits and wine. Sulphites occur naturally in some foods, but they are also added to many processed foods.
3. Trans Fats
What are trans fats, and why should you avoid them? Trans fats are a type of food additive made when vegetable oils are hydrogenated. This process makes the oil more solid, so trans fats are often used in processed foods like cookies, crackers, and French fries.
Unfortunately, trans fats can also be harmful to your health. For example, they can raise your bad cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease. For these reasons, it’s essential to avoid foods that contain trans fats.
4. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an additive used in many foods to enhance flavour. It is made up of sodium, glutamate, and water. Although it is considered safe by the FDA, some people believe it can cause health problems. MSG has been linked to headaches, nausea, and other adverse reactions. If you are trying to avoid MSG, read the labels of the foods you eat and avoid anything that contains “monosodium glutamate” or “natural flavouring.
5. FD&C yellow no. 5 and no. 6.
Food additives are chemicals added to food to improve its appearance, flavour, or texture. Some food additives are safe, while others may be harmful.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified two food additives, FD&C yellow no. 5 and FD&C yellow no. 6, that may be harmful and should be avoided. These additives are used to colour foods such as candy, soft drinks, and bakery products.
FD&C yellow no. 5 is a dye made from coal tar that can cause skin irritation and hyperactivity in some children. FD&C yellow no. 6 is also a dye made from coal tar that can cause cancer in animals.