Although they are generically dubbed as additives and their role is to enhance the taste and nutritional value of your food, new studies show that they do more harm than good. In spite of the fact that the public is becoming more aware of the dangers of food additives, the truth is that the manufacturers are always one step ahead of them. In other words, they are easy to mask since they make their way into your food quite effortlessly through processing, storing and packaging.
The most exposed victims to the dire consequences of additives are families that enjoy consuming mainly processed foods. Because some are more toxic than others, next time you are heading to the supermarket to shop for groceries, watch out for the following additives:
1. Artificial sweeteners
The artificial sweeteners and particularly the E951 are commonly found in foods and beverages marked as diet and sugar free. While their main function is to ensure the sweetness of some drinks and foods, the truth is that its main active ingredient, aspartame, is considered a neurotoxin and a carcinogen. In addition, it has been reported to cause the most unpleasant side effects by far. Constantly consuming foods with artificial sweeteners will affect the short-term memory, erode cognitive functions and help in the development of several lethal conditions.
2. Trans fat
Trans fats are among the most dangerous foods to consume, particularly since they are able to increase the levels of LDL while decreasing the HDL (good cholesterol). At this point, due to the threat they pose, trans fats are forbidden in certain European countries. As a consequence, people who consume deep-fried and junk food on a regular basis are more prone to suffer heart attacks, strokes, develop cardiovascular condition, increase the chances of getting diabetes and experience several other major health problems.
3. Food dyes
Even though your kids and yourself may be attracted and tempted to try that vividly colored soda or fruit juice, it is necessary to mention that recent research found food dyes are one of the causes for behavioral problems and IQ reduction in children, as well as constitute the primary factor in developing cancer. The significant side effects they stir, particularly in children, have determined several countries in Europe to ban them from their markets.
4. Sodium sulfite
While sodium sulfite has a certain role to plat in the commercial wine-making process, this is certainly a substance you want to avoid in your food. According to the FDA, one in one hundred people present moderate to severe side effects to sulfites, the most exposed category being the asthmatics. While the mild manifestation of sensitivity to sodium sulfite involves with headaches and rashes, it is important to note that severe adverse reaction include breathing problems and can lead to death.
5. E320 preservatives
The E320 additive is essentially a preservative typically found in vegetable oil, cereals, potato chips and chewing gum. The role of the E320 preservatives like BHA and BHT consists of preventing foods from changing color as well as tasting rancid. So far, studies show that these preservatives have the potential to alter a person’s behavior and, since they are oxidants, they are also known to create reactive cancer-causing compounds in the body.
6. Sulfur dioxide
At this point, the use of sulfur dioxide (E220) is completely forbidden in the US and several countries in Europe. The most common utilization of sulfur dioxide in the food industry comprised of maintaining the appearance and taste of dried fruits and vegetables. While it may preserve the taste and looks, the substance will surely destroy important nutrients present in these aliments (vitamins B1 and E).
However, it has been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that this sulfite is responsible for hypertension, bronchial problems and can even cause an anaphylactic shock. Sulfur dioxide is strictly contraindicated for people with chronic respiratory conditions and particularly asthma. In addition to that, it is highly advisable to avoid vinegar, potato products, soft drinks, wine and cordials that contain this sulfite.
7. Sodium nitrate/nitrite
If you fancy meat and especially processed meat products, then it is mandatory to check the percentage of sodium nitrates/nitrites that these foods contain. Because the nitrates are a preservative, they are generally considered harmless. However, when they enter the body and are digested, they break down into carcinogenic substances. The nitrates are known to be hazardous to health and have even been some attempts to vote it out of the meat industry. Yet, they are not banned form the industry simply because they have the ability to turn the meat bright red.
8. Potassium Bromate
In order to withstand the competition, some bakeries and pastries will sometimes use unorthodox practices to make their products more appealing. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to add potassium bromate in the flour to increase the volume of the end products. While it may seem like an innocent hoax at first, the truth is that studies clearly indicate that potassium bromate will cause cancer. It is necessary to mention that some reports suggest that even small amounts of this substance in bread and other white flour baked products will inevitably lead to serious health problems.
9. MSG flavor enhancer
The MSG flavor enhancer constitutes an excitotoxin known to cause over-excitation of the cells, even to the point of severe damage and death. At the same time, studies show that the E621 or MSG disturbs the hunger neurotransmitters to the brain, particularly the ones that are associated with the saturation sensation and hence, it is yet another factor that can contribute to obesity. The Monosodium Glutamate can be typically found in soups, chips, dressings, frozen foods and other aliments found in restaurants.
10. High fructose corn syrup
The HFCS is another dangerous artificial sweetener as well as the number one source of empty calories across the food in American supermarkets. The high fructose corn syrup is present in all processed foods and, in addition to promoting weight gain, it is also known to increase the levels of LDL, contribute in the development of diabetes and cause tissue damage.