Do you know those ingredients that seem like they came right out of a science book? They’re the ones that are hard to pronounce and usually not familiar looking. More than likely, the questionable ingredient you’re trying to read is a food additive.
The FDA wrote an article explaining what food additives actually are. They state that a food additive is “any substance added to food” and clarified that the legal term defines it as “any substance the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result -- directly or indirectly -- in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food.”
One of the common themes in the FDA article placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that consumers expect food to look and taste a certain way, therefore the food additives are a way to make the food look and taste differently.
It’s an interesting thought that consumers expect food to look and taste a certain way, especially when the food additives have been added to our food since the majority of the population has been alive. How would we know what real food should taste or look like if it’s always contained food additives?
Luckily there are products that exist without these unnecessary added ingredients, and they taste great!
3 Reasons For Food Additives
There are three main reasons why food additives are in our food.
Preservatives are common food additives that we see often. They offer no nutritional value, but they help to extend the shelf life of products. The preservatives slow down the spoilage that can be caused by different environmental factors.
To Add Lost Nutrition
A lot of the foods that we eat go through such a rigorous process that all of the good nutritional value is lost. Vitamins and other nutrients are then added back to the product to offer some type of nutrients again.
To Change Taste, Look, and Texture
Colors are added to make the food look more fun. Emulsifiers and thickeners are added to change the products’ texture. Natural and artificial flavors are added to make the food taste differently. Again, these are all typically unnecessary and offer no health benefits. They simply change our perception of real food.
Issues with Food Additives
There are numerous studies done on food additives, and many of them are controversial. Some researchers argue that the studies are inconclusive and that more research should be done.
However, studies still exist that link many harmful side effects to food additives. The EWG points out some of the worst food additive offenders in its “Dirty Dozen” list in this article.
While the FDA makes it seem like these added ingredients are safe and harmless, the food additives exist to alter the product in some way. It allows the products to be less expensive and more convenient, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good or healthy for us.
We’ve written previously on how food additives can be linked to things like:
There are studies linked to each of these side effects, and all can be related to food additives. For such unnecessary ingredients, why would we risk our health and our futures?
Here’s the good news. Wake Up and Read the Labels has done all the research to find foods that are made without food additives. We specifically look for products with no artificial or natural flavors, no preservatives or emulsifiers, and no other synthetic ingredients.
Real food is still available at your fingertips, you just have to know where to look and how to read the ingredients.
Schedule a call with a food coach to learn how you can get rid of these food additives from your pantry.