3 Food Additives You Should Avoid – & 3 You Don’t Have to Fear

There’s so much fear mongering about what’s inside processed foodsespecially when it comes to it food additives the, as the WHO explains, are incorporated “to maintain or enhance their safety, freshness, flavor, texture, or appearance”. While a diet that eliminates all processed foods or allows for foods with minimally processed ingredients certainly represents a healthy ideal, the additive component of processed foods is not always the driving factor as to why they may be considered harmful to health. To get a better feel for some common food additives, including how they actually affect your diet and overall health, we asked a few nutrition experts for their insights.

As the FDA states, “any substance intentionally added to food” is considered a food additive. In addition, the FDA has a rigorous screening process for evaluating food additives that determines whether or not the additive in question is potentially toxic Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). In fact, there are a number of food additives that are banned because they are considered illegal substances, and the FDA strictly regulates this.

While a healthy curiosity about what food additives really are and how they can potentially affect your body is entirely natural and understandable, you don’t need to consume yourself by obsessively splitting hairs about them. If your goal is to do something good for your body, it’s more important to place more emphasis on eating nutrient-dense foods while carefully regulating the amount ultra-processed foods They will eat if you don’t avoid them completely.

“The ‘clean eating’ trend has fueled fear around the word ‘additive’.” dr Shyamala VishnumohanPh.D., APDa food scientist and dietitian, narrates Eat this, not that! “It’s important that we put more focus on limiting consumption of ultra-processed foods that are low in nutrients [not] energy dense instead of being afraid of food because ‘additive’ is perceived as a swear word.”

Since the occasional waste with processed treats or eating foods with processed ingredients is bound to happen sooner or later, you should be aware that as with most things, some additives may serve you and your health better than others. Are there any food additives that you absolutely should avoid, and which food additives might seem harmful to you but really have a rind worse than their bite?

Here’s exactly what these nutrition experts had to say about which food additives you should — and shouldn’t — worry about. And for more useful advice on healthy eating, be sure to look around too 10 nutritionist-backed nutrition trends to try in 2023.

Food additives to avoid

Red dye 40

While the FDA has qualified and labeled all food coloring as GRAS, some have research admits that there may be a connection between Red color and hyperactivity and aggression in children. However, more evidence is needed to support a conclusive statement.

“Although more research is needed at this time, it might be worth avoiding red dye 40 — a synthetic food coloring made from petroleum — in children with ADHD,” she says Megan Warnke, RDN. While health organizations have concluded that red dye 40 poses a minor health risk, some studies have found that its consumption can cause mild allergic skin reactions and worsen behavioral symptoms in children with ADHD.

Nitrates & Nitrites

Processed cold cuts

Processed cold cuts

Although many of the nitrates we consume come from plants, there is growing evidence that nitrates and nitrites added to processed meat are linked to certain types of cancer, particularly those that can affect your body stomach and colon.

“I recommend avoiding nitrates and nitrites, which are found in packaged meats like bacon and luncheon meats,” he advises KeyVion Miller, RDN, LDN, Nutritionist and Culinary Nutritionist. “It has been shown that these additives may contribute to an increased risk of colon cancer.”

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Although more human research is needed before we can make any conclusive statements about the potential dangers and health risks associated with this food additive, there appears to be some evidence that maltodextrin may disrupt a healthy gut.

“Maltodextrin is added to foods to improve texture, flavor and shelf life,” he says Kim Kulp, RD, a registered dietitian at the Gut Health Union. “Although generally considered safe, one [2018] to learn in mice shows that it can increase the number of harmful microbes in the gut and damage the gut lining. These changes can lead to an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease.”

Eat this, not that

Eat this, not that

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Additives that seem scary – but are actually safe

guar gum

While putting chewing gum in food may sound alarming, one additive you don’t need to fear is guar gum. In fact, guar gum is a type of fiber that has a functional purpose in our food supply, as well as some potential health benefits.

“Guar gum is a long-chain carbohydrate used by the food industry to thicken and bind foods like ice cream, soups and sauces,” explains Dr. Vishnumohan. “Guar gum is certainly in moderation for most people and come from a legume called guar beans. It is high in fiber and has been linked to it better digestive health and an increased feeling of satiety.”


granola bar

granola bar

Cellulose is often seen on the ingredient list of foods such as shredded cheese, baking mixes, some granola and granola bars.

After Andrew Akhaphong, MS, RD, LDa Registered Dietitian for Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, there are many misconceptions about cellulose and its origins, which likely stem from its chemical structure.

“Cellulose is used as a release agent to keep the ingredients from sticking together,” he says. “Influencers often talk about avoiding products with cellulose because it’s ‘from’ trees or ‘made’ of wood pulp. Although trees contain cellulose, the cellulose [we eat] comes from all plant foods, including celery, spinach, beans, and some nuts and seeds.”

“Chemistically, cellulose has the same structure — regardless of which tree or plant it comes from,” Akhaphong adds.

Akhaphong further claims that cellulose is not only safe to consume, but it can also bring a ton of health benefits.

“Cellulose is completely harmless,” says Akhaphong. “In fact, as an insoluble fiber, cellulose reduces constipation and the risk of colon cancer, improves feelings of fullness and aids in bowel movements.”

ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid is a great example of an additive that can appear worrying and scarier than it really is. Actually, ascorbic acid is just the scientific name for vitamin C.

After Shannon Western, ANutr, Founder and Chief Nutritionist at Ease Nutrition Therapy, the reason it’s commonly added to foods is because it helps preserve items to maintain their shelf life.

“There is a trend not to eat foods that contain unknown ingredients. One ingredient that sounds unfamiliar is ascorbic acid,” says Western. “It’s just vitamin C written in its chemical name. Ascorbic acid is used as an additive to improve self-life, meaning food can last longer without going rancid. That’s because vitamin C is an antioxidant.”

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/3-food-additives-avoid-3-111418371.html 3 Food Additives You Should Avoid – & 3 You Don’t Have to Fear


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