Human has been using food additives to enhance various food properties for thousands of years. In the second half of 20th century, food additives industry has been experiencing explosive development. Thousand of food additives have been introduced. So, do you have an idea what are you really eating when you are eating some food? Let’s have a look at top 5 food additives that could be found in daily life.
HFCS was produced from raw corn starch through hydrolysis (convert starch into glucose) and glucose-isomerization (convert glucose into fructose). It is widely used as replacement of table sugar as it produces similar sweetness with much lower cost. The problem with high fructose corn syrup is just the same as any other sugar; it will increase chance of obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome when consumed in large quantity.
Artificial sweeteners are usually known as sugar substitute which can produce many time the sweetness of sucrose. The most significant artificial sweeteners are aspartame and saccharin; they are widely used in diet coke and soft drinks. Although various food safety authorities claim that these artificial sweeteners are safe for using at current level, people still have a lot suspects on consuming these ingredients.
Monosodium glutamate has been introduced by Kikunae Ikeda in 1908. It’s the most heavily consumed food additive found so far. It’s reported that monosodium glutamate could affect brain development of Children. So it’s widely accepted that monosodium glutamate should not be used in Children’s food.
Sodium nitrites and nitrates are used a lot in various types of processed meat to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes. They are found to have some connections with development of cancer.
Food colorants are used a lot to produce desired color in food. However, the food these artificial food colorants are found to be able to cause a lot of health problems. Now only 10 types of artificial food colorants are allowed by FDA.
Not all additives are necessarily bad, actually many food additives are essential to our body and many are very important to bring happiness to our life. However, you still need to learn to read the ingredients label, avoid using additives too much.