Many consumers are not aware, but food additives are everywhere, and if you do a run through your kitchen pantry, you will be surprised to see some food products with this ingredient. In the food industry, it is used as a flavor enhancer, added texture enhances the overall appearance of a product, and extends shelf life. These substances’ bad reputation is related to many adverse side effects to health, and most of them should be used in minimal amounts, but there are some that you need to avoid.
The truth about food preservatives is that they are not natural ingredients, but an active substance that poses a significant danger to health. This article will provide you with enough knowledge of these substances so you can avoid the consumption of foods that might include a lot of them as ingredients.
1. Monosodium Glutamate or MSG
MSG is one of the most commonly consumed food additives that can enhance the flavor of cooked foods, mostly savory cuisines. In the culinary world, it is known as umami or the fifth taste that intensifies foods’ flavor. This umami is the reason why fast foods and restaurants use it to enhance the flavors of dishes. Besides that, food processing and manufacturing also take advantage of monosodium glutamate in salty snacks, canned goods, and frozen food products.
The use of MSG in foods is the subject of many debates since 1969. They found out that a considerable amount of this substance can increase the risk of neurological effects and growth and development defects. However, a recent study proves MSG has very little to no impact on the human brain because it cannot penetrate the brain blood vessels’ barrier.
It has been linked to allergies for people with sensitivity to monosodium glutamate, and most of them experience symptoms such as numbness, excessive sweating, and headaches. According to a study in 61 people who are MSG sensitive, 5 grams of the substance was given to them, and 36 percent experienced an adverse reaction.
2. Artificial Food Coloring
Artificial coloring is substances use to enhance the appearance of food from beverages to condiments. There are various studies about this type of food additives to find out its side effect on health. Recently, there have been many concerns about specific colorings such as Red 40, Yellow 5, 6, and Blue 1 that are linked to a myriad of allergic reactions to humans.
There is research about the relation of food coloring and its allergic reaction to children. Another study found out that it depends on the level of sensitivity of a person. Other concerns by health professionals are linked to increased risk of developing certain types of cancer as some food dyes have cancer-causing substances.
The Red 3 has been tested and showed a greater risk of having a thyroid tumor in animal studies, so it was replaced by Red 40, which is safer to use as food additives. It does not matter what type of food dye you use or used in food products you are buying because consumption must be limited in the diet to ensure overall health.
3. Sodium Nitrite
It is commonly used for meat processing as a preservative to inhibit bacteria’s growth, adding saltiness and enhancing the color of meat. Nitrite itself is not dangerous but once subjected to extreme heat in the presence of amino acid in meat; the substance is converted into nitrosamine, which is very dangerous to health. In a review of different studies of these food preservatives, consuming in large quantities in the diet can increase stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, breast, and bladder cancers.
4. Guar Gum
It is utilized as a thickener and binder in food manufacturing and processing of ice cream, salad dressings, soups, and sauces. Guar gum is known for its high fiber content. It is associated with several health benefits such as decreased constipation, bloating, and weight management by providing a feeling of fullness. However, this food additive is still regulated by the FDA to avoid harmful side effects on health.
5. Sodium Benzoate
One of the many food preservatives commonly added to carbonated drinks and foods high in acids such as fruits, juices, condiments, salad dressings, and pickled food products. FDA approved and included in GRAS or generally recognized as safe, but various studies have discovered some of its potential adverse side effects.
One study with 475 college students as participants who took a large number of beverages with sodium benzoate showed symptoms of ADHD. Another promising research was done to find out its relation to cancer because of benzene formation.