If you think food is one of those things that’s actually dull, stop reading this article and go out and buy a bright-colored box of assorted rainbow-colored food additives to spice things up! Although the food additives industry claims that food additives are harmless to eat, anyone who’s ever tried them knows differently. In fact, many of these additives have now been proven to be linked to some of the most deadly cancers, including mesothelioma. So, is it really worth risking your health for the sake of having colorful, attractive packaging?
One fun fact about food additives is that they are usually added as an afterthought during the processing stage of the food. During that stage, manufacturers add everything from sugar to artificial flavors and preservatives to give their products an extra “boost.” Needless to say, the additives are never fully evaluated and controlled, so some of them end up being dangerous to eat. Food processing companies are allowed to add any number of different chemical substances under the law, as long as they are “natural” and “lavonoids” (a natural pigment that occurs in plants). However, it’s important to realize that many food additives are actually synthetic substances that are just as dangerous as cancer-causing compounds!
Fun Fact About Food
Perhaps the most popular and delicious food additive around today is soybean oil. Manufacturers frequently add soybean oil to stir-fry, sauces, and a variety of other cooking methods, simply because it adds flavor. But did you know that soybean oil is actually one of the most common causes of cancer? That’s right; soybean oil is the primary source of trans fats, which are known carcinogens. For that reason, you should avoid all sources of soybean oil, including textured vegetable protein (TVP), chicken nuggets, and barbecue.
Another fun fact about food additives that most people don’t recognize is the cumulative effect they have on our health. As we ingest food additives through consumption, we become more exposed to them through inhalation, dermal absorption, and ingestion. These food additives can affect us in many ways.
The most obvious is artificial food dyes. Whether it’s red or purple, white or yellow, artificially flavored food is full of chemicals that enter our bodies and then become stored in our fat. It is estimated that nearly 25% of all artificial additives are derived from artificial food dyes. Studies show that people who frequently consume artificial colors may be more likely to suffer from breast cancer later in life. Another interesting finding from a recent study was that women who ate a lot of red meat were more likely to have abnormal breast growths.
A Much Ado
Other food additives are more subtle. For example, food additives such as saccharin and aspartame have been found to cause cancer in lab rats, even though the ingredient has been banned in the US and elsewhere. In addition, the chemical MSG has been linked to an increased risk of Type II diabetes in people who eat a lot of food, especially foods that are manufactured in the US. One of the biggest concerns with food additives is that, over time, they accumulate in our bodies and interfere with our natural production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which has an impact on our mood.
Dr. Pepper, the famous Sicilian conger in his recipe for his original recipe for Dr. Pepper, once said that he never added any ingredients to it that were not natural. However, some restaurants in New York City continue to use artificial flavors such as artificial sweeteners, aspartame, and sodium benzoate. Other popular brands, such as Costa Rica’s national brand Choc Coconut, use natural flavors but add artificial flavoring. Other examples include gourmet coffee brands, like K-Cup and Blue Mountain, and hot sauce brands, like Masterpiece and Old Bay.
In recent years, more attention has been placed on food coloring because studies have shown that there may be a link between artificial colors and cancer. Because of this research, the European Union banned food coloring as of 2021. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, food coloring can be applied to almost any food product. However, the FDA cautions that “these colorings may be added without adequate precautions”, and that pregnant women, children, and teens should avoid all products that contain artificial dyes. It is important to read labels carefully to ensure that the food you are planning to purchase is safe for consumption. Remember, anytime you make or buy food, look for a fun fact about food that you enjoyed as a kid!