food additives

Food additives are used to enhance taste (such as black pepper and MSG), preserve, or fortify food. Examples of food additives are salt, gum arabic (see here, here), artificial coloring (in farmed fish as well), artificial flavoring, and citric acid. Sweeteners include stevia , erythritol, corn syrup, and nutrasweet, though only two are considered to be health-promoting. Some additives are considered harmful, including as potassium sorbate, coumarin (which has been banned), and nitrites (see also here, here, here, here, here, here). Some have been found to be contaminated with mercury and others associated with hyperactivity and dementia. The meat industry is even now considering additives to try to make meat safer.

Topic summary contributed by Jinda Chaijinda
To help out on the site, email

Watch videos about food additives

  • Butter-Flavored Microwave Popcorn or Breathing
    Butter-Flavored Microwave Popcorn or Breathing
    The artificial butter flavoring diacetyl has been linked not only to deaths of workers handling the chemical, but also to serious lung disease in consumers of microwave popcorn.
  • Is Carrageenan Safe?
    Is Carrageenan Safe?
    Carrageenan is a food additive used as a thickener and fat substitute in a variety of dairy and nondairy products. Concerns about potential intestinal tract damage are placed in the context of...
  • Titanium Dioxide & Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    Titanium Dioxide & Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    People eating conventional diets may ingest a trillion microparticles of the food whitening additive titanium dioxide every day. What implication might this have for inflammation in the gut?
  • Miocene Meteorites and Uric Acid
    Miocene Meteorites and Uric Acid
    Human beings lost the ability to detoxify uric acid millions of years ago. What implications does this have for our health today?
  • Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
    Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
    Death in America is largely a foodborne illness. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Dr. Greger offers practical advice on how best to...
  • Maggot Meat Spray
    Maggot Meat Spray
    Given their inherent resistance to food-poisoning bacteria, maggots can be used to create an antibacterial food additive to increase the safety of the meat supply.
  • Viral Meat Spray
    Viral Meat Spray
    Bacteria-eating viruses (bacteriophages) have been approved as meat additives to reduce the risk of Listeria and Campylobacter found in processed meat and poultry products, but there is a concern...
  • Preventing COPD With Diet
    Preventing COPD With Diet
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is now the third leading cause of death. The good news is that in addition to smoking cessation there are dietary interventions that can help prevent COPD.
Page 2 of 512345