Popular Food Additives & Their Effects On Health
Everyday food items we eat regularly will likely have lengthy expiration dates, delicious flavors, and appealing textures. But have you ever stopped to consider the reason? Our favorite meals and delicacies have become a modern luxury thanks to common food additives. However, adverse health effects are associated with food additives in varying degrees. While some are relatively harmless and can be incorporated into a diet, others have dire consequences and long-term effects.
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
This additive is typically added to juices, sodas, snacks, and breakfast cereals as a sweetener derived from corn. The risk of adverse health conditions from high-fructose corn syrup comes from its abundance of fructose when over-consumed. The onset of becoming overweight and developing Type 2 Diabetes is associated with high fructose corn syrup.
Throughout a 10-week study, a beverage enhanced with either fructose or glucose sweeteners was consumed by 32 participants. Drastic health changes were detected once the study concluded. Unlike the drink enhanced with the glucose sweetener, abdominal fat and blood sugar levels drastically spiked from consumption of the drink sweetened with fructose.
- MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
Savory dishes often get their vibrant, intense flavors from a frequently added flavor enhancer, MSG. It's popular in pre-packed foods such as salty snacks, frozen meals, and canned soups. Fast food chains and restaurants are also well known to rely on MSG in their products.
Due to a study conducted in 1969, MSG became a hot topic of controversial debate since excessive amounts of MSG consumption negatively affected mice. This involved stunted development and growth and adverse effects on the neurological system.
- Sodium Nitrite
As a staple ingredient in various processed meats, Sodium Nitrite is a preservative that inhibits unwanted bacterial growth. In addition, it adds a more appetizing appeal to processed meats by giving them a reddish-pink hue while adding a noticeably salty bite. Sodium Nitrite becomes particularly hazardous to health when it converts to nitrosamine while exposed to amino acids and subjected to high temperatures. An increased risk of contracting multiple forms of cancer correlates to excessive consumption of processed meats and nitrates.
- Trans Fat
Widely regarded for its ability to extend shelf life and enhance the consistency of food products, trans fats are a hydrogenation processed food additive. A greater risk of contracting heart disease, causing inflammation flares, and increasing the onset risk for Type 2 Diabetes is among the adverse health impacts of trans fat consumption.
Processed foods commonly contain trans fats, including margarine, oven-baked treats, biscuits, and microwaveable popcorn. A connection between the onset of heart disease and high consumption of trans fats has been proven by a multitude of studies. In fact, as an official safeguard, the GRAS status (generally recognized as safe) was nullified for trans fats by the FDA.