Food ingredient is a substance that is added to achieve the desired effect. The food ingredient includes food additives. Food additives are substances added to food for specific functional or technical purpose during processing, packaging, or storage.
There are two types of food additives:
1. Indirect food additives
2. Direct food additives
1. Indirect food additives
Indirect food additive substances are not intentionally added to food but may present in some
amount as a result of packing, processing, shipping, or storage.
2. Direct food additives
Direct food additive is a compound added to food for a specific purpose in the food. The
Direct additives are usually mentioned on the label.
Types Direct Food Additives
• Antioxidant – prevents food from going rancid or oxidizing.
• Anti-Caking agents – stops ingredient from getting lumpy.
• Emulsifier –stop fats from clotting together.
• Colors – enhance or add color.
• Artificial sweetener – increase the sweetness.
• Food acids – maintain the right acid level.
• Flavor enhancer – increase the power of flavor.
• Flavors – add flavor.
• Humectants – keeps food moist.
• Foaming agent – maintain uniform aeration of gases in foods.
• Mineral salts – enhance texture and flavour.
• Stabilizer and firming agents – maintain food dispersion.
• Gelling agents – changes the texture of foods through gel formation.
• Glazing agent – improves the appearance and can also protect food.
• Raising agent – increase the volume of food through the use of gases.
• Bulking agent – increase the volume of food without major changes to its available energy.
• Thickeners and vegetable gums – enhance texture and consistency.
Food addictive and Processed food
There is a misconception that processed food usually contains food additives. But in processed food preservatives are used which limit the growth of the dangerous microbes. Even though you can’t see them, there are thousands of present which may cause sickness. For example, foods like long-life milk, frozen foods, and canned foods are all processed, but none of them contain added chemicals.
Whereas, food additives are not intended to slow down the threat of microbes. They are mostly used for enhancing the flavor, for giving the more desirable appearance or for changing its color, which can be harmful to health sometimes.
Top 10 Ingredients That Are Harmful to Health
1. Artificial colors and flavors
Artificial colors are added to enhance the coloring and flavor of the food, but many people are sensitive to these ingredients and experience numerous side effects. The fact that the artificial means that they are not meant to go into the body.
2. Artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners that are aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, etc. are many times sweeter than sugar without sugar. Artificial sweetener can alter the good bacteria present in your gut, and it is just one of the few possible side effects.
3. Oils: corn, vegetable, soybean
Vegetable oil contains omega -6 fats more than the other oils. While these corns, vegetable soya oils are an essential part of the diet, too much can create problems. Omega 6 fats can lead to inflammation, and inflammation can lead to a home of other illness, which also includes heart diseases.
4. Enriched wheat
Processed wheat leaves you without essential nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin B, and minerals.
5. Sodium nitrate
Sodium Nitrite is used for preserving, flavoring, and coloring in ham, bacon hot dogs, smoked fish, and other processed meat. This ingredient is highly carcinogenic for the human digestive system.
6. Trans fat
Trans Fats are used to enhance the shelf life of food products and are one of the most dangerous substances that can enter your body. It is found in deep-fried fast food and certain processed food products which are made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Trans fat increases cholesterol, meaning higher risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
7. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium Glutamate is used as a flavor enhancer in salad dressings, soups, chips, and many restaurant foods. MSG is an excitotoxin substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage. Studies show that regular intake of MSG can lead to depression, disorientation, eye damage, headaches, and obesity.
8. Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is found in beer, soft drinks, juices, and vinegar. It can adversely affect your health and make you suffer from bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, conjunctivitis, and emphysema.
9. BHA and BHT
BHA and BHT are found in cereals, chewing gum and potato chips. This additive keeps food from changing color, changing the flavor, or becoming rancid. These additives have the potential to cause cancer.
10. Sodium sulfite
Sodium Sulfite is found in wine and dry fruits. A person who has sulfite sensitivity may experience breathing problems, rashes, and headaches. In severe cases, it can also lead to cardiac arrest.
Some of the common illness people sensitive to food additives can experience
• Nervous disorder – insomnia, irritability and hyperactivity.
• Skin problem – itching, rashes, swelling.
• Respiratory problem – asthma, sinusitis.
• Digestive disorder – colicky pain and diarrhoea.
How to eat healthy with no additives
1. Read labels
When you purchase processed food read the labels to find the healthiest options and avoid additives such as artificial flavor, color, and MSG. while reading the label also check the amount of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol sodium and sugar in the food.
2. Go Organic
Organic food might not be higher in nutrients, but purchasing organic food might make it easier to avoid additives. Organic products are also lower in pesticides and herbicides residue.
Not all additives are bad or harmful. Some of them improve the mineral content and vitamin of your food.
1. What is a food ingredient?
Food ingredient is a substance that is added to food to achieve the desired effect.
2. Are all food additives harmful?
No, not all food additives are harmful; some might help improve the nutritional value of the food.
3. How do you identify food additives?
The food packaging contains the label of the additives that are present in it you can read and identify what food additives are present in the food you are purchasing.