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How to eat healthy: Food Additives – The Basics

I have two things going against me today…I’m still under the weather AND I have an assignment due at midnight. In light of those two things, I did not have time to write a new “How to eat healthy” article. So I decided to repost this article, which was originally posted at the end of September.  This is the first, in what will be a series of articles on the dangers of food additives.  Each month I will be highlighting one of the additives on the list posted below.

Enjoy the article and let me know if you have any questions regarding this, or any other topic.  Stay tuned next month for an article highlighting ACIDS.


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)

courtesy of Authority Nutrition

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!

Harmful effects of food additives (2) (3)

Just what do these additives do to the human body? Here is a list of just SOME of the issues:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Headaches
  • Cancer
  • Heart palpatations
  • Allergies
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Asthma
  • 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.

  1. Acids – Prevent bacteria from growing.
  2. Anti-caking agents – Prevents food particles from sticking together.
  3. Anti-foaming agents – prevents product from foaming.
  4. Anti-oxidants – Protects the product from oxidation such as rancid fat or bad coloring.
  5. Bulking agents – Contributes to the volume – No caloric value – makes product seem bigger than in actuality.
  6. Carriers – Helps dissolve or dilute an additive without changing function. Aids in handling.
  7. Coloring – No function other than making it “appear” fresh.
  8. Firming agents – Prevents product from naturally collapsing, artificially holds it together.
  9. Flavoring – both natural and artificial.
  10. Flavor enhancers – Enhance the existing taste of a product.
    1.  MSG
  11. Gelling agents – give a product texture.
  12. Glazing agents – Provide a sheen and protective quality to the product.
  13. Humectants – Prevent food from drying out.
  14. Modified starches – Chemically treating a natural starch.
  15. Packaging gases – Gases, other than air, added to the product during processing.
  16. Preservatives – Prolong shelf life by protecting the product from deterioration.
  17. Propellants – Help expel food from a container (IE: Spray oils such as Pam)
  18. Processing aids – This aids in the production of the product, such as flow agents or anti-mircrobial agents.
  19. Stabilizers – Helps hold the product together
    1. Emulsifiers – Help oil and water mix, such as in salad dressing
    2. Emulsifying salts – Added to cheese to unify the fat and other ingredients
    3. Flour treatment agents – improve dough quality
    4. Thickeners –
    5. Vegetable gums
  20. Sweeteners
    1. Natural
    2. Artificial


Here’s an infographic listing

the “scary seven”

food additives

to avoid now


This video showcases the

5 chemicals

that are in almost everything.

What’s the best way to avoid food additives?

I think

you already know the answer…

stop eating processed food…

of any kind…


It really is that simple.

Just eat real food!

They're both called food,but which one do you consider REAL FOOD-.jpg




Let us stop for a moment to pray and meditate.

About Tamara Hoerner (1003 Articles)
I am a student at Hawthorn University working toward a MS degree in Holistic Nutrition. For me, the name Purple Almond symbolizes “Good, nutritious, whole food bringing light and life to the body, awakening the inherent healing mechanisms within.”

14 Comments on How to eat healthy: Food Additives – The Basics

  1. This is so timely! Danny just asked on his question of the day, why do people go crazy with pumpkin spice. I told him that was because Starbucks says we should. Advertising really is just mind games.


  2. great post – super informative!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. this article is really helpful. i totally agree your idea about refusing processed food. I think fried processed food is equal to junk food, for example, chips. I understand the junk food is delicious, but if they are not delicious how they can attract people to eat it, so I don’t think the excuse of tasted is reasonable. moreover, processed food is harmful to human health, they cause fat and decrease appetite. Our campaign is trying to help people resist temptation of processed food. We think real food is also tasted, for example, we can drink fruit juice to replace soft drink. —-YZ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments. I appreciate you it and your visit to my blog. The problems with processed food is it is specifically made to be highly addictive. The food industry has chemists that specially design the food with just the perfect combination of salt, fat and sugar. Most people, in the USA anyway, are raised on processed food, not real food as you and I recommend. So they don’t realize just how poorly the processed food tastes. I was one of those people, until I switched to whole foods. Now I can’t stand eating processed foods.
      Regarding fruit juice…small amounts are ok, however it is VERY hight in sugar. Most juice has just as much sugar as soda. Here is an article which compares the two:
      Once again, thanks for stopping by! Namaste! 🙏


  4. In the comments of that article, mortal discussed  just how insalubrious Starbucks Pumpkin spice […] So they wear’t gain just how poorly the refined food tastes.


  5. This is exactly what I needed to read today. I was talking to another blogger last night about how foods impact our mental health. I have a traumatic brain injury and we were discussing how some foods/drinks increase my mental/physical illnesses. So I am slowly starting to change my diet. This is a great reference. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! Not enough people are aware that those so-called “preservatives” are there to destroy bacteria, and in doing so potentially destroying your gut flora… This is totally what happened to my husband, thanks to a diet of processed foods as he lived on his own for a few years, away from his mom’s homemade dishes! And I must have added to the problem back in the days when I confused “cooking” with “mixing pre-packaged ingredients”. Thankfully, five years ago we completely changed our diet. Now that everything is homemade from fresh, unprocessed ingredients, he has lost close to 20 pounds over the course of five years, and no longer suffers from asthma, seasonal allergies, or migraines.
    Thank you for alerting people on this issue!

    Liked by 1 person

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. The Purple Almond: Where food is medicine. Wellness Wednesday: DIY Lattes & Syrups & Creamers
  2. How to eat healthy: Food Additives – The Basics — The Purple Almond – Living A Redefined Life
  3. The Purple Almond: Where food is medicine. How to eat healthy: Food additives-Acids

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