Food Additives to Avoid

The biggest concern in pre-cooked or pre-packed food is the food additives. Many company use food additives to make the shelf life longer, to make it tasty/pretty, cut the cost down, and/or to make people addictive to the products. There are now so many of them…but here are a few of them that you want to avoid and reason why.

1) Aspartame

Usually this is contained in “low calorie” or “diet” food as a sweetener. It may cause neurological problems such as dizziness, seizures, or hallucination, also mood issues such as irritability, anxiety and may cause cancer.

2) MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

This chemical is used to fatten the lab rat. This can damage brain cells and eventually desensitize the signals that we feel “full”. Thus this chemical has been associated with obesity and related diseases. Some people also may have an immediate allergic type of reactions. MSG are now in many processed food (soup, dressings, flavorings, chips) and most fast food.

The labeled name can be followings: Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Yeast Extract etc.

3) Trans Fats

This has been proven to have a link between cardiovascular diseases. Restaurant food, margarine, pastries, processed food, fast foods, and deep fried foods are generally containing this type of fats. Also called Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

4) High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

This is a type of sugar our body cannot use and this is the most common cause of the liver producing excess cholesterol (especially triglyceride) and linking to cardiovascular diseases, and liver disease (non-alcoholic fatty liver). Also because the body cannot use the fructose (insulin cannot recognize it), blood sugar can go up, and may contribute to diabetes

Common sources: soft drinks, pops, fruit juices, canned fruits, baked goods, jams, gums. Hidden sources are ketchups, mayonnaise, dressings

5) Cancer Causing Agents

  • Sodium nitrate: used to keep the colour of meat, found in hams, hotdogs, luncheon meat etc
  • Food Colourings: Blue1,2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
  • Potassium Bromate: used to increase the volume of flour, usually in baked goods
  • BHA and BHT (Butylated hudroxanisole): used as a preservatives in cereals, chips etc

How to avoid these additives?

  • Home cooking as much as possible! Especially the sweets and snacks! Not-so-healthy sweets can be way healthier when you make it from scratch!
  • Read the label, get to know the sources and company who makes them. Usually smaller, old fashion company/business uses home style cooking methods.
  • Don’t be fooled by sales catch! “organic”, “natural”, “low calorie”, “diet” etc