12 Common Food Additives You Should Avoid!

Common Food Additives You Should Avoid Them First of all take a look at the ingredient label of just about any food in your kitchen pantry and there’s a good chance you’ll find a food additive . They are used to improve the taste, appearance or texture of a product or to extend its shelf life.

In addition, some of these substances have been linked to adverse health effects and should be avoided, while others are safe and can be consumed with minimal risk.

Common food additives that you should avoid:

1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG):

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a common food additive used to intensify and improve the flavor of savory dishes. It is found in a variety of processed foods, such as frozen dinners, snack foods, and canned soups. It is also often added to foods at restaurants and fast food outlets.

MSG has been the subject of much controversy since a 1969 mouse study found that large amounts had harmful neurological effects and stunted growth and development.

However, this additive will likely have little to no effect on human brain health as it is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.

MSG consumption has also been linked to weight gain and metabolic syndrome in some observational studies, although other research has found no association.

2. Artificial dyes: 

Artificial coloring, it’s among the common food additives you should avoid them , and it’s used to brighten and improve the appearance of everything from candy to condiments.

In recent years, however, there have been many concerns about the potential health effects. Specific food dyes like Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 have been linked to allergic reactions in some people.

In addition, one review reported that artificial dyes can promote hyperactivity in children, although another study showed that some children may be more sensitive than others. Concerns have also been raised about the potential cancer -causing effects of certain food dyes.

3. Sodium nitrite:

Often found in processed meats, sodium nitrite is among the common food additives you should avoid , and it acts as a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria, while adding a salty flavor and reddish-pink color. .

When exposed to high temperatures and in the presence of  amino acids , nitrites can turn into nitrosamines, a compound that can have many negative health effects.

Additionally, a review showed that a higher intake of nitrites and nitrosamines was associated with a higher risk  of stomach cancer . Many other studies have found a similar association, reporting that a higher intake of processed meats may be linked to a higher risk of colorectal,  breast  and bladder cancer.

Other studies suggest that exposure to nitrosamines may also be linked to a higher incidence of type 1 diabetes, although findings are inconsistent. Still, it’s best to keep your intake of sodium nitrite and processed meats to a minimum. Try swapping processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and ham for unprocessed meat and healthy sources of protein .

Chicken , beef , fish, pork, vegetables , nuts , and eggs are just a few delicious protein-rich foods that you can add to your diet in place of processed meats.

4. Goma guar: 

Guar gum is among the common food additives you should avoid , being a long-chain carbohydrate used to thicken and bind foods. It is widely used in the food industry and can be found in ice cream, salad dressings, sauces and soups.

Guar gum is high in fiber and has been linked to a multitude of health benefits. For example, one study showed that it reduced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as bloating and constipation .

This is because it can swell to 10 to 20 times its size, potentially causing problems like obstruction of the esophagus or small intestine.

Guar gum can also cause mild symptoms such as gas, bloating, or cramping in some people. However, guar gum is generally considered safe if consumed in moderation.

Additionally, the FDA has set strict guidelines on how much guar gum can be added to foods to minimize the risk of negative side effects.

5. High Fructose Corn Syrup:

High-fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn. It is often found in soda, juice, candy, breakfast cereal, and snack foods. It is rich in a type of simple sugar called fructose, which can cause serious health problems when consumed in large amounts.

In particular, high-fructose corn syrup has been linked to weight gain and diabetes . In one study, 32 people consumed a beverage sweetened with glucose or fructose for 10 weeks.

At the end of the study, the fructose-sweetened drink caused significant increases in belly fat and blood sugar levels, as well as decreased insulin sensitivity compared to the glucose-sweetened drink.

It is best to avoid sugary snacks and foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. Instead, choose whole, unprocessed foods with no added sugar, and sweeten them with Stevia , yacon syrup, or fresh fruit.

6. Artificial sweeteners:

Artificial sweeteners are used in many diet foods and drinks to improve sweetness and reduce calorie content and are among the common food additives you should avoid.

Common types of artificial sweeteners include aspartame, sucralose, saccharin , and acesulfame potassium . Studies show that artificial sweeteners can aid weight loss and help control blood sugar levels.

One study found that people who consumed a supplement containing artificial sweeteners for 10 weeks had a lower calorie intake and gained less body fat and weight than those consuming regular sugar.

Still, artificial sweeteners are generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, if you experience any negative side effects after using artificial sweeteners, be sure to check ingredient labels carefully and limit your intake.

7. Carragenina:

Derived from red seaweed, carrageenan acts as a thickener, emulsifier and preservative in many food products. Common sources of carrageenan include almond milk, cottage cheese, ice cream , coffee creamers, and dairy-free products like vegan cheese.

For decades, there have been concerns about the safety of this common food additive and its potential health effects. Additionally, carrageenan is believed to have a negative impact on digestive health and may be associated with the formation of ulcers and intestinal tumors.

So if you decide to limit your carrageenan intake, there are many resources online that can help you find brands and products that do not contain carrageenan.

8. Sodium Benzoate:

Sodium benzoate , is among the common food additives you should avoid , and is a preservative often added to carbonated beverages and acidic foods such as salad dressings, pickles, fruit juices, and condiments. It has been generally recognized as safe by the FDA, but several studies have found potential side effects that should be considered.

For example, one study found that combining sodium benzoate with artificial dye increased hyperactivity in three-year-olds.

When combined with vitamin C , sodium benzoate can also be converted to benzene, a compound that may be associated with the development of cancer.

Carbonated drinks contain the highest concentration of benzene, and diets or sugar-free drinks are even more prone to benzene formation. To minimize your sodium benzoate intake, check food labels carefully.

Avoid foods that contain ingredients such as benzoic acid, benzene, or benzoate, especially if combined with a source of vitamin C , such as citric acid or ascorbic acid .

9. Trans fat:

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that has undergone hydrogenation, which increases shelf life and improves the consistency of products. It can be found in many types of processed foods, such as baked goods, margarine , microwave popcorn and cookies.

Several potential health risks have been linked to trans fat intake, and the FDA until recently decided to revoke its GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status.

In particular, several studies have linked a higher intake of trans fats with a higher risk of heart disease. One study found that eating foods high in trans fats increased several markers of inflammation, which is a major risk factor for heart disease .

Research also shows that there may be a connection between trans fats and diabetes . A large study of 84,941 women showed that a high intake of trans fat was associated with a 40% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes .

Cutting processed foods out of your diet is the easiest and most effective way to lower your trans fat intake. You can also make some simple changes to your diet, like using butter instead of margarine and swapping vegetable oils for olive oil or coconut oil .

10. Goma xantana:

Xanthan is one of the common food additives you should avoid them  used to thicken and stabilize many types of foods such as salad dressings, soups, syrups and sauces.

It is also sometimes used in gluten-free recipes to help improve the texture of foods. Xanthan gum has been linked to several health benefits.

11. Artificial flavorings:

Artificial flavors are chemicals designed to mimic the taste of other ingredients. They can be used to mimic a variety of different flavors, from popcorn and caramel to fruit. Animal studies have found that these synthetic flavors may have some health effects.

One study found that the production of red blood cells in mice was significantly reduced after they were fed artificial flavorings for seven days.

Not only that, certain flavors like chocolate and strawberry have also been found to have a toxic effect on your bone marrow cells .

Similarly, another animal study showed that synthetic grape , plum and orange flavors inhibited cell division and were toxic to bone marrow cells in mice.

12. Yeast extract:

It is made by combining sugar and yeast in a warm environment, then spinning it in a centrifuge and discarding the yeast cell walls. Yeast extract contains glutamate, which is a type of naturally occurring amino acid found in many foods.

As with monosodium glutamate (MSG), eating foods with glutamate can cause mild symptoms like headaches, numbness, and bloating in people who are sensitive to its effects.

Additionally, yeast extract is relatively high in sodium , with around 400 milligrams in every teaspoon (8 grams). Reducing sodium intake has been shown to help lower blood pressure, especially in people who have high blood pressure.

Useful links: 

As of 2017, yeast extract is still recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

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