Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance.
Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as with wines.
Some additives improve or maintain the food’s nutritive value. Vitamins A, C, D, E, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide and iron are often added to foods such as flour, bread, biscuits, breakfast cereals, pasta, margarine, milk, iodized salt and gelatin desserts.
Instead of vitamin C, you may see ascorbic acid listed. Alpha-tocopherol is another name for vitamin E, and beta carotene is a source of vitamin A.
In addition to providing nutrients, food additives can help reduce spoilage, improve the appearance of foods and increase the availability of a variety of foods throughout the year.
Some food additives can potentially cause harmful side effects. For example, butylated hydroxyanisole, commonly known as BHA, is a preservative used in foods including potato chips, crackers, beer, baked goods and cereal.
It has been classified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a preservative “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Sulfites, which are added to baked goods, wine, condiments and snack foods, could cause hives, nausea, diarrhea and shortness of breath in some people.
More Reasons to avoid them
1. Food Additives Damage Your Heart
A recent study suggests eating lots of phosphate-rich foods like soda, processed cheese, baking powder, and many processed foods increases production of the FGF23 hormone, which can put a strain on the heart.
Research from the American Heart Association also suggests men should cut processed red meat out of their diets because of an increased risk of heart failure.
2. Food Additives Disrupts Hormone Balance
Like I mentioned above, the FDA doesn’t really regulate what’s in our food. That said, a recent study found propyl paraben, an endocrine disruptor, in many American snack foods.