Anyone who reads my blog knows I advocate a whole food diet, organic when possible. Fresh meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables are, by far, the best and healthiest food for the human body. There are many aspects in the field of nutrition that are hotly contested, this is not one of them. Everyone in all areas of the nutrition industry agrees that whole foods are superior to processed and refined foods. Why is that? Food additives. It’s bad enough that the food is processed and refined to such a degree that all nutrients are stripped from the food, but chemicals, many “disguised” as “natural substances” are then added to the food.
In order for food companies to make money on their products, they need to process it as cheaply as possible, so it will last as long as possible. That’s where food additives come in. There are many different types of additives designed to give the product a fake color, longer shelf life, enhanced flavor, added sweetness, etc. The longer it can sit on a shelf, the better for the company.
“Natural” and “organic” products are better….right? Well….
A food can be labeled “all natural” and still be filled with food additives. In fact, the FDA has no hard definition for the term “natural” and any manufacturer can add it to their label. (5)
Even pre-packaged organic foods have added preservatives and coloring. These types of food can contain additives such as carrageenan, synthetic DHA (fatty acid), acidified sodium chlorite, Tetrasodium pyrophosphate, or Ethylene. (4)
What usually happens is the additive starts as an innocent plant, such as carrageenan, which is seaweed. But, the seaweed is industrially grown and highly processed until all that is left is the carrageenan starch. Or, citric acid, which doesn’t come from citrus, but instead, is mass produced from MOLD! These products can be considered “natural”, but, well, not so much!
Just what do these additives do to the human body? Here is a list of just SOME of the issues:
- Heart palpatations
- Contact dermatitis
- Brain damage
- Impaired liver function
- Impaired kidney function
- Heart defects
- Birth defects
- Nutrient deficiencies
- High blood pressure
20 different types of food additives
Here is a comprehensive list of 20 different types of additives, followed by a brief description. I’ve decided to make this into a FOOD ADDITIVES series. Over the next few months, I’ll be going over each one in detail, giving a list of chemicals, agents and foods to avoid. I’ll also compile a FOOD ADDITIVES data base as I go along, so, you’ll be able to refer back to it, as the need arises.
- Acids – Prevent bacteria from growing.
- Anti-caking agents – Prevents food particles from sticking together.
- Anti-foaming agents – prevents product from foaming.
- Anti-oxidants – Protects the product from oxidation such as rancid fat or bad coloring.
- Bulking agents – Contributes to the volume – No caloric value – makes product seem bigger than in actuality.
- Carriers – Helps dissolve or dilute an additive without changing function. Aids in handling.
- Coloring – No function other than making it “appear” fresh.
- Firming agents – Prevents product from naturally collapsing, artificially holds it together.
- Flavoring – both natural and artificial.
- Flavor enhancers – Enhance the existing taste of a product.
- Gelling agents – give a product texture.
- Glazing agents – Provide a sheen and protective quality to the product.
- Humectants – Prevent food from drying out.
- Modified starches – Chemically treating a natural starch.
- Packaging gases – Gases, other than air, added to the product during processing.
- Preservatives – Prolong shelf life by protecting the product from deterioration.
- Propellants – Help expel food from a container (IE: Spray oils such as Pam)
- Processing aids – This aids in the production of the product, such as flow agents or anti-mircrobial agents.
- Stabilizers – Helps hold the product together
- Emulsifiers – Help oil and water mix, such as in salad dressing
- Emulsifying salts – Added to cheese to unify the fat and other ingredients
- Flour treatment agents – improve dough quality
- Thickeners –
- Vegetable gums
- Sweeteners –
BUT WHAT CAN I DO RIGHT NOW?
Here’s an infographic listing
the “scary seven”
to avoid now
This video showcases the
that are in almost everything.
What’s the best way to avoid food additives?
you already know the answer…
stop eating processed food…
of any kind…
It really is that simple.
Just eat real food!