Processed foods contain many additives such as edible colorings that make the product look attractive, flavors that enhance the taste, and preservatives that extend the shelf life of the product. While some of these additives are safe to consume, some may pose health risks. Therefore, it is important to read labels for processed foods carefully.
With regards to the additives of greatest concern, here is a list of the substances that are best avoided, or restricted.
Industrial food dyes
Artificial food coloring promotes hyperactivity in children who are sensitive to additives. Certain food dyes have been banned in many countries due to animal studies that have shown that these additives can increase the risk of tumors and cancers, cause damage to chromosomes, and lead to other health problems.
However, more research is needed to understand the potential health effects of artificial food colors in humans. The best thing you can do is to avoid dyes and choose whole and organic foods that do not use any artificial food colors.
High fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners
High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn found in drinks, juices, breakfast cereals, desserts, and snacks. This additive, when consumed in large amounts, can cause weight gain, diabetes and other serious health problems such as infections, which in turn have been linked to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
While high fructose corn syrup adds empty calories, other popular artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and sucralose are used to enhance sweetness without increasing the calorie content. It is often safe to consume but some types of artificial sweeteners like aspartame may cause side effects such as headaches. Make sure to limit your intake of these substances, and stick to whole, unprocessed foods without added sugar. It is best to sweeten foods with honey or fresh fruits.
Trans fats that have undergone hydrogenation and trans fats are added to foods to improve their texture and increase their shelf life. Studies link trans fats to heart disease, diabetes and inflammation.
Monosodium glutamate, known as MSG, is used in salty foods to intensify and enhance flavor. While this additive is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and affects brain health, it also contributes to weight gain. People who are sensitive to MSG may have symptoms such as sweating, numbness, and headache.
This additive is mostly found in processed meats, and it is a preservative that prevents bacterial growth while also adding flavor and color. When sodium nitrite is exposed to high heat or is combined with amino acids, it turns into nitrosamine, which is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer and negative health effects. Other. Eating large amounts of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of breast, bladder, colon, and rectal cancer.