Food Additives That Can Be Harmful

Can certain food additives can be harmful to our health? Let’s review this topic today.

Have you wondered why people weight more than they did years ago? Is it the lack of exercise? Is it what we eat? What about autoimmune diseases? Why have we sen an increase in autoimmune diseases? Is is related to our diet. These are all questions that do not have answers. Time will tell. Let’s review what we know right now.

A recent review of nearly 4,000 food additives showed that 64% of them had had no research showing they were safe for people to eat or drink (Source American Academy of Pediatrics)

Food additives that are harmful to our healthMSG

Some people may have a sensitivity to MSG. The most common complaint is headaches. Some studies have suggested that MSG may contribute to metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of diabetes). You will find MSG in a lot of different foods such as deli meats, soy sauce, chips, salad dressings and sports drinks.

Look for hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, glutamic acid and yeast extract on the label.

Sodium Nitrate

Sodium nitrate is used as a preservative in processed meats like bacon and deli meats. There is a concern that that  processed meats may be linked to a higher risk of colorectal, breast and bladder cancer as well as heart disease.

High fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup is high in fructose which is a sugar. Corn is cheaper than sugar so many manufacturers have replace sugar with high fructose corn syrup.

In one small study, glucose was compared to fructose. The findings? Compared with glucose, dietary fructose increases  insulin resistance and changes in lipids. This data suggests that dietary fructose promotes dyslipidemia, decreases insulin sensitivity, and increases belly fat in overweight adults. Additional studies are needed.

Fructose is also thought to increase inflammation which is thought to play a role in metabolic syndrome. It is important to note that some researchers feel that high fructose corn syrup is no different than sugar.

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Is used as a food thickener. it is thought to increase inflammation. There is a also concern that carrageenan can cause bowel irritation.

Sodium Benzoate

There are concerns that this preservative can increase attention deficit disorder. In addition,  we know that when  sodium benzoate is exposed to citrus acid (orange juice) benzene is formed. Benzene is recognized by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) as carcinogenic to humans.

Trans fats

Trans fats are fats that have been manipulated to increase shelf life. There is concern that trans fat increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

We need food to survive. Let’s review some substances that you should try to avoid.

Food coloring

There is concern that food coloring may increase attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,

“Artificial food colors, common in children’s food products, may be associated with worsened attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Studies cited in the report found a significant number of children who cut synthetic food colorings from their diets showed decreased ADHD symptoms.”


According to the Cleveland Clinic,

Sulfites are a preservative that can aggravate asthma. Their use on fresh fruits and vegetables is banned in the United States but sulfites are present in other foods. Avoid ingredients such as sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, sodium bisulfite or sodium sulfite.


High fructose corn syrup  2009 May;119(5):1322-34. doi: 10.1172/JCI37385. Epub 2009 Apr 20.

Sodium benzoate International Agency for Research on Cancer)

American Academy of Pediatrics


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