Food additives are a reality of modern living, and we can find them in almost every food we pull off the shelves. These additives provide different benefits to the food they’re found in, adding flavor, extending shelf-life, or just improving its overall appearance. While all of them have been approved for use by the FDA, that doesn’t mean that they’re free from side effects. Studies have shown that some food additives can act as allergy triggers or cause migraines in those sensitive to them. These are just some of the understood side effects associated with the food additives we can find in prepackaged food.
A Selection Of Food Additives To Watch Out For
The following list contains food additives that have been identified as having undesirable side effects in some consumers, as well as those that are generally harmless.
- MSG – MSG, or monosodium glutamate, has been used to improve or enhance the flavor of a variety of dishes for years. Generally considered safe for humans, there are those who have reactions to this substance. Reactions include headaches, numbness, and sweating when consumed in large amounts.
- Artificial Food Coloring – This is more of a broad range of substances rather than a single one. Blue 1, Yellows 5 and 6, and Red 40 have all been known to cause allergic reactions in certain consumers. Red 3 is rarely used due to studies showing it increases thyroid tumors in animal studies.
- Sodium Nitrate – This additive provides a red-pink color to food, as well as adding a salty flavor. Studies of this substance have shown that high levels of consumption may be associated with stomach cancer, various forms of cancer, and diabetes type 1. Limiting your exposure to sodium nitrate is generally wise.
- Guar Gum – This additive is used for binding and thickening foods and is common in soups, salad dressings, ice cream, and sauces. It has been shown to reduce overall feelings of hunger and has even shown benefits to those with IBS. Ironically, some actually experience gastrointestinal distress when it’s consumed in high quantities.
- HFCS – High-Fructose Corn Syrup may just be the most frequently encountered additive, as it can be found in a surprising range of products. HFCS has been associated with high levels of blood sugar and belly fat. It is also associated with inflammation and has been shown to aggravate cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Moderation, if not total avoidance, is suggested.
Other additives to watch out for are things like aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners. While some studies have shown that these substances can help control weight gain and even help with blood sugar levels, studies are ongoing.
Other Important Changes You Can Make To Help Yourself Remain Healthy
The above additives are just one of the hundreds you may encounter on your food labels. A little research will help you learn more about the others and whether they have any risks, you should be aware of. The FDA continues to study these additives, while new ones are added to their approved list while some older ones are removed each year. Speaking to a nutritionist is another great step to helping yourself remain healthy or a holistic health specialist. Consider reaching out for a consultation today.