Food additives are substances that are added to foods to improve shelf life, taste, texture, or appearance. Disputes about the dangers of E-additives have been going on since the first day of their appearance, and research regarding their effect on the body is ongoing. In this article, we will break down the pros and cons of additives in detail, talk about why additives are often necessary, and tell you about chemicals that you really should avoid.
What food additives E are there?
By origin, food additives are divided into natural and artificial. Natural additives are usually natural colors, flavors, or other substances found in nature in their pure form. Often, they enter our bodies naturally when we eat vegetables and fruits. Also, additives that people have learned to obtain by processing animal raw materials have a natural origin: animal bones, chitinous cover of arthropods, or insects. For example, E913 lanolin or E120 carmine. A number of natural supplements represent various minerals of the Earth. As a rule, these are metals, their oxides, and alkaline compounds: chalk, sand, and table salt – all these substances are used in the food industry. Vitamin manufacturers and cosmetics manufacturers also often resort to them.
Artificial additives, in turn, are divided into two types:
Identical to natural. These are additives that were created artificially, but at the same time, they have natural analogues and are almost identical to them in their effect on the body.
Synthetic origin. Additives that are created in the laboratory and have no analogs in nature.
Harmful food additives
Society has always been biased towards food additives, and therefore they are closely monitored When one or another additive is found harmful, it becomes known very quickly. To date, the EU prohibits:
- E240 — formaldehyde. This may lead to oncology.
- E237 — sodium formate. May lead to fatal consequences.
- E238 — calcium formate. Have an extremely negative effect on skin health and may provoke liver or kidney disease.
- E284 — boric acid. Has a high level of toxicity.
- E285 — sodium tetraborate. Causes problems with the digestive system.
- Е216 — para-hydroxybenzoic acid, propyl ether. It may increase the risk of breast cancer in women, and also lead to infertility in men.
- Е217 — p-hydroxybenzoic acid, propyl ether, sodium salt. It negatively affects the neurovascular system and can lead to the formation of malignant tumors.
However, remember that any system sometimes fails, and if the European Union allows the use of an additive, this does not mean that it is harmless. Therefore, if you have doubts about certain elements of the product, take the time to find out what they are.
Harmless and beneficial food additives
Natural additives are able to provide the body with benefits and at the same time do almost no harm. Their use can improve the functioning of the body, boost immunity, and also prevent many diseases. Let us look at them in more detail.
- Vegetables and fruits provide the body with minerals, vitamins, fiber, and plant compounds, which in turn have a positive effect on all vital systems.
- Oily fish contains omega 3. This element helps to significantly improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system and reduce the risk of related diseases.
- Fruits of leguminous plants provide your body with soluble fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They make it possible to significantly reduce the risk of diabetes, certain types of oncology, and heart disease.
- Plant seeds and nuts are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and minerals. Scientists report that these products can reduce the risk of early death, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Whole grains contain a variety of nutrients, such as B vitamins, fiber, iron, selenium, and magnesium. Whole grains help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
The above elements, as a rule, are the main one’s vitamin manufacturers and cosmetics manufacturers look for.
What are emulsifiers and preservatives?
Emulsifiers and preservatives are used in order to maximize the life of a product while maintaining its useful properties. Many consumers are biased toward them, and some try to avoid them altogether. However, studies show that only a few of them are really capable of harming the body. In particular, this applies to such additives as E213, E214, E222, E223, E237.
They contain toxins that can accumulate in the body over time and have a devastating effect on it. Otherwise, this type of additive is usually harmless, and in some ways even useful, since they prevent food from spoiling and make it possible to fully obtain their useful properties. Many would like to see carcinogens and emulsifiers abandoned in general, however, today this is impossible. Without these additives, most foods will spoil before they reach the supermarket shelves, stores will start going empty, and mass starvation will soon overtake humanity.
As we can see now, E-additives can indeed be harmful, however, their overall threat turned out to be nowhere near as great as it is portrayed. In practice, neither product manufacturers nor their sellers are interested in harming you. E-additives tend to be added in exceptionally safe doses, and their truly dangerous representatives, as a rule, are banned immediately after their problem is established. However, we strongly advise you to be careful. Take your health responsibly, check the composition of the product that you have doubts about, monitor the quality of your diet and remember that everything is good in moderation. One pack of chips a week will not hurt your health, but even drinking too much water can kill you. Therefore, no matter what additives you are dealing with, always adhere to the measures of prudence.