Part 1: What you need to know about food additives.
One of the great myth is that food additives are unhealthy and should be avoided. Scientific studies partly confirm that, although, these substances are intensively tested and are regulated by the law.
So why is the food industry using these additives? Well, food additives are mostly used to enhance certain properties. We should not forget that the job of the industry is to preserve and prepare food in an appealing way.
But as a food scientist, I would like to give you an insight into this matter. So let’s have a look for example at E330 citric acid. This substance is widely found in nature, especially in citrus fruits, and used by the food industry for different applications. Although it is manufactured by microorganisms, the chemical composition is identical like the natural one. Therefore, there is no harm in consumption.
But on the other hand, there are other food additives, where studies show that there is something more to worry about. Let’s have a look at some food colorants. Prominent ones are the Azo compounds, notably the E102 Tartrazine with its yellow- orange color that is suspected of causing allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children’s behavior. Because of this uncertainty, some supermarkets do not allow its suppliers to supply foods with certain E- numbers.
Not every food additive is harmful, but some of them are probably not serving your interests. Keep in mind that some food companies do not write the E- number on the label, rather the full name of the food additive to pretend to be clean. So the absence of an E- number does not tell you anything.
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