This article is completely devoted to additives and raising the overall understanding and awareness of them.
The article explains what additives are, a common myth about them, that if they are harmful or not and goes into a good deal of other stuff.
It will give you an insight into the question, whether additives are something that you can afford to neglect.
So, if you’re interested, let’s get right into it.
Additives: What Exactly Are They?
The honest truth is that no matter what your eating habits are, it’s pretty sure to say that you are also consuming additives daily. So, what exactly are they?
They can be used as colors, preservatives, antioxidants, sweeteners, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, gelling, bulking, glazing, anti-foaming and anti-caking agents, carriers, acidity regulators, flavor enhancers and loads of other ways [R, R].
Supplement Additives and additives in medicine often times are referred to as the other ingredients. But that doesn’t change a thing, those additives that are in food and medicine are the same ones you can find in food.
Some people think that additives are only those substances that have fancy names, like Allura Red AC, Calcium Hydrogen Sulphite, Steviol Glycoside or Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monopalmitate.
However, also simple everyday common stuff that we are so used to can be considered and used as additives. Some examples would be sugar, salt, water, oils or Calcium Chloride (extremely common in cheese).
Anything that is ever tied with an E number is also an additive. In Europe, E-numbers are the numerical system of representing additives. In other words, any additive that can be used has an E-number for it. For example, Citric acid is also known as E330, Silicon Dioxide – as E551 or stuff like Beta-carotene – as E160a.
E-numbers are most commonly used to shorten the name of an additive so the ingredient list takes up less space on the package of the product. For example, it’s much shorter to list E468 as an additive that it is to use its full name – Crosslinked Sodium Carboxy Methyl Cellulose.
Other times, however, they are used to hiding certain additives that people may not want in their food, supplements or medicine. For example, people may know a certain additive by it’s E-number, but not know its actual name. The same can be true the other way around – people may know the name of the additive they wish to avoid, but not know the equivalent E-number.
Are Reading Labels Waste Of Time Or Exact Opposite?
The two biggest regulators of additives of the modern World are the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
But above all, before approving any additive they collect research on it, ask the applicant to provide sufficient evidence that anyone additive is safe for use and consumption, as well as they do their own tests.
Ultimately, and because of the role of these two agencies, many will try to argue that all additives are completely harmless and you should never really waste time reading the labels.
However, nothing can be further from the truth.
Are Additives Harmful?
In existence, there are many actually and truly harmful additives that get approved. More on ‘why’ this happens later in the article, but know that by harmful I mean the following.
Not only are they able to bring about or worsen the condition of any chronic disease, but they can affect your brain’s and body’s functioning in a seriously negative way. And by that not only will it affect your performance, but also your overall life happiness and fulfillment in life [R, R].
For example, Hydrogenated Oils are both one of the most consumed and one of the most harmful substances to consume out there. You’ve probably heard about the Trans Fat, and that they are bad, and that you should not consume them. In truth, hydrogenated oils (or hydrogenated fats) are Trans Fat.
There is no difference between the two at all. The hydrogenated oils are just a relatively new name for that same thing. The name was invented because people essentially became too aware of the fact that Trans Fat is BAD and should not be consumed. Which, of course, wasn’t in the interests of the food industry.