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Thursday 22 October 2015



What are food additives: Personally, I see food additives as chemical substances added to food, drinks and other edibles during processing for longer shelf life, to enhance its appearance i.e appeal to consumers, taste, instant feeling like quick energy with no nutritional value in themselves.

Why Food additives and preservatives

According to R. Paul Singh in his article titled Food additive, He noted that “Additives such as salt spices, and sulfites have been used since ancient times to preserve foods and make them more palatable. With the increased processing of foods in the 20th century, there came a need for both the greater use of and new types of food additives. Many modern products, such as low-calorie, snack, and ready-to-eat convenience foods, would not be possible without food additives
The issue is not against additives and preservatives but artificial food additives, We advocate that the preservatives should be as natural as possible. For in real sense we cannot but preserve our food.
Scientific studies and trials published so far give enough evidence that artificial food additives and preservatives do cause hyperactivity and other associated problems especially in children. Many of the additives are banned in some countries or included only with health warning

There has been significant controversy associated with the risks and benefits of food additives. Some artificial food additives have been linked with cancer, digestive problems, neurological conditions, heart disease or obesity. Natural additives may be similarly not so safe. Extreme caution should be taken with sodium nitrite which is mainly used as a food coloring agent sodium nitrite is added to meats to produce an appealing and fresh red color to the consumer,
Any artificial colour is cosmetic and not necessary in our food and our bodies – similarly, artificial flavorings is included to make poor quality food taste better. I think its worth avoiding as much as possible, all artificial colorings and flavorings or at least keeping them to the barest  minimum. Here are a list of the worst offenders:  


1. Artificail Sweeteners:
Aspartame (E951) more popularly known as Nutrasweet and equal is found in foods labeled “diet” or Sugar free” Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is not your friend as you think, it is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short term memory. The component of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor diseases like lympoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Alzheimers, fibromyalgia and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and even seizures.

They are prominent in diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereals pudding, some toothpaste, ice tea, chew able vitamins etc.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup – High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)is a highly refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories inmost developed countries. It is found in almost all process food. known to encourage weight gain and bad cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage among others.
Found in most process foods, breads, candy flavored yogurts salads dressings canned vegetables. etc

3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG/E621)

MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees and many restaurant foods MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which over excites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage ,fatigue, headaches, and obesity.  Found in: Chinese food (chinese restaurant syndrome) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings frozen dinners, lunch meats.

4. Transfat: This is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Found in deep fried fast foods and certain processed foods  with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Transfats are formed by a process called hydrogenation. Numerous studies show that transfat increases LDL cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems. Found in Margarin, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods.

5.Sodium Sulfate (E221)
Preservatives used in wine making and other processed foods, Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfates can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.

6. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
Sodium Nitrite is used as a preservative, coloring and flavouring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodsteam and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs, liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient.

7. BHA and BHT (E320)
Butlaatede hudroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gums, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat
Found in: Potatoe chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, shortening candy etc.

8. Sulfur dioxide (E220)
Sulfur additives are known to be toxic. Adverse reactions include bronchial problems, particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure) flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E.
Found in: Beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices ,cordials , wine, vinegar, and potatoe products.

9. Potassium Bromate
An additives used to increase volume in some white flour, breads and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.
Found mostly in breads

10. Common Food Dyes
Studies show that artificial colourings which are found in soda, fruit juices and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioural problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ.
Varities of these dyes include (1) Blue 1 and 2 (E133). May cause chromosomal damage
Found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods,(2)Red Dye E124 Has been shown to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may interfere with brain nerve transmission. Found in fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy and bakery products. Yellow 6(E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102) Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage. Found in: macaroni cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, and lemonade.
All the food additives listed here have been tested for safety and although they are banned in other countries, they are still thriving in some, especially developing countries, like Nigeria
Presently, additives are tested individually but in real life they aren’t found in isolation. They are normally combined with other additives. There is now evidence that the effect of combined additives is far worse than the individual additives.
A recent study that looked at the combined and individual effect of a group of four common food additives on the development of nerves in rats. They found that the mixture stunted nerve cell growth up to seven times more than the individual additives.

Parents, guardians and health conscious individuals need be warned on the need to avoid artificial additives, colouings and flavourings used in most drinks, sweets and processed foods amid a link to behavior problems in children and a host of other health problems.
A study funded by the government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is understood to have drawn a link with temper tantrums and poor concentration. They are also concerns about allergic reactions such as asthma and rashes.

A Professor on this field called on parents and manufacturers to protect children. He said “It is biologically plausible that they could be having an effect” Parents can protect their children by avoiding food containing the additives.
He called on manufacturers and supermarkets to remove the additives on a precautionary basis. He said: “It is the right thing to do to remove these additives from children’s foods. They have no nutritional value, so why put them?The Founder of the Hyperactive Children Support Group, Sally Bunday, said

There is good evidence that artificial additives can have a harmful effect”She said. “ The consequences can be very serious for both children and adults who are sensitive to these artificial colors. The reaction in children can be horrendous in terms of mood swings with crying, creaming, inability to sleep.”There can also be physical reactions such as difficulty in breathing on skin rashes . For a young person there is also a risk of quite mood.

The founder of the organic brand Organix, Lizzie Vann, has been campaigning for a ban on all artificial additives from children’s food. “The use of artificial additives in children’s foods means we are conducting a long-term experiment on our children’s health,” she said “If the Government is serious about improving children’s nutrition, the ban on artificial food additives must be a priority”

I have personally observed that these additives, increases acidity in the body, predispose us to disease and various forms of inflammations, I therefore reduce their usage in my home to the barest minimum, ranging from oils and fats, food condiments, carbonated drinks and beverages and of course, the result is undeniable, fewer visits to the hospital.



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