The controversy around our very favourite Maggi noodles has drawn our attention to the dangerous food additives that might be there in the foods that we relish eating. So here are some additives that you really need to check and avoid while buying your favorite food items.
1. MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
MSG (Monosodium glutamate) found in soups, salad dressings, seasonings, dipping sauces, chips etc.
MSG akaajinomoto or glutamic acid or E621 is one of the most dangerous additives. It is widely used in restaurants as a taste enhancer. All big fast food chains such as Pizza Hut, KFC, Mc. Donalds, Burger King contain high MSG content in their foods. Check the labels while buying any packaged food product and also avoid E620-625 as they contain glutamate as well.
Risk: depression, eye damage, fatigue, headache, disorientation and obesity.
2. Trans Fats
Trans Fats found in good amounts in deep fried fast foods, chips, hamburgers, biscuits, popcorns, donuts etc.
Trans Fats are used to increase the shelf life of food products.Restaurants use trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oil, as it is less likely to spoil and thus doesn’t have to be changed as frequently as other oils.
Risk: various heart diseases by increasing the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and depleting the body of good cholesterol levels (HDL).
3. Sodium nitrite/nitrate
Sodium nitrite/nitrate used widely in meat industry.
Sodium nitrate is used to cure meat to prevent the rancidity and growth of bacteria and increase its shelf life. Sodium nitrite is as a color fixer, it keeps the meat red making it look fresh no matter how old it is.
Risk: When exposed to high temperature they get converted to nitrosamines which are highly carcinogenic.
4. Potassium Bromate
Potassium Bromate used widely in baking industry.
Potassium bromate (E924) is an oxidizing agent used in bread making to increase the volume. It ages flour much faster than open air. This additive is illegal in many countries such as European Union, Canada and Brazil. Many countries ensure the levels to be less than 20ppb (parts per billion).
Risk: carcinogenic properties in both humans and animals.
5. High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup found in processed foods, soda drinks, cereals, fruit juices, granola bars.
HFCS, a very common food additive, is a sweetener made from corn and has zero nutritional value. Various studies suggest that HFCS inhibits leptin, the hormone that signals brain that you are full.
Risk: obesity, risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
6. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Sweeteners found in sodas, yogurt, tea, energy drinks, protein shakes, flavoured milk, juices.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. The chemicals from which an artificial sweetener is synthesized from are not just harmful but toxic. The most commonly used and the most toxic sweeteners are aspartame, sucralose, saccharin which are marketed asNutraSweet, Equal, Splenda, Nevella, Sweet’N Low, Necta Sweet. Sucralose is a chlorinated artificial sweetener which has detrimental health effects.
Risk: Aspartame has carcinogenic properties and is regarded as the most dangerous of all artificial sweeteners. Sucralose can cause swelling of liver and kidneys. Saccharin possess risks like cancer, diabetes, weight gain, allergic reactions.
BHA/BHT found in beer, baked goods, dry beverage, cereal, potato chips, butter, instant mashed potatoes, preserved meat, frozen sausages and dessert mixes, chewing gum etc.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) (E320) are antioxidant preservatives that prevent oils in food from oxidizing and becoming rancid.
Risk: possess cancer causing properties, negatively impact sleep and appetite.
8. Artificial Colors
Artificial Colors found in cakes and other baked goods, sodas, candies, cereals, ice creams etc.
They may make your food look “omg! so beautiful!”But they do have some harmful effects. Yellow 5(E102) and 6 (E110), Red 40 (E124), Blue1 and 2 (E133) are some of the most dangerous food dyes. Almost all colorants are derived from coal tar and may contain lead and arsenic.British government and European Union have taken strong actions against the use of food dyes and companies such as Kellogs and Kraft foods are using natural alternatives and no artificial colors in their UK food products.
Risk: hyperactivity, hypersensitivity in children, carcinogenic properties.
9. Sulphur Dioxide
Sulphur Dioxide found in dried fruits, potato products, vinegar, beers, wines.
Sulphur Dioxide is used to preserve the flavour and colour. Sulphur Dioxide may be labeled as E220. It should be avoided in patients with bronchitis, bronchial asthma, emphysema and conjuctivities or cardiovascular disease.
Risk: asthma, hypertension.
So avoid the junk and go organic. Eat less of processed foods, opt for foods that contain natural preservatives and enjoy a healthy lifestyle 🙂