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
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Watch videos about food additives
March 2, 2012
Vitamin C-Enriched Bacon
The addition of vitamin C to processed (cured) meats such as bacon may actually make them more carcinogenic.
February 29, 2012
Prevention Is Better Than Cured Meat
The levels of nitrosamines—considered the most carcinogenic agents in cigarette smoke—were recently measured in an array of processed meats including chicken, turkey, and pork.
February 28, 2012
Are Nitrates Pollutants or Nutrients?
Phytonutrients such as vitamin C prevent the formation of nitrosamines from nitrites, which explains why adding nitrite preservatives to processed meat can be harmful, but adding more vegetables and...
February 27, 2012
Bacon and Botulism
The nitrite preservatives in processed meats such as bologna, bacon, ham, and hot dogs form carcinogenic nitrosamines but also reduce the growth of botulism bacteria, forcing regulators to strike a...
February 24, 2012
When Nitrites Go Bad
Nitrites in processed meat form nitrosamines, a class of potent carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, which may explain why hot dog consumption has been associated with the two leading pediatric...
February 23, 2012
Is Bacon Good or Is Spinach Bad?
If the nitrates in vegetables such as greens are health-promoting because they can be turned into nitrites and then nitric oxide inside our bodies, what about the nitrites added to cured meats such...
October 18, 2011
Is Potassium Sorbate Bad for You?
Is the preservative used to prevent mold growth in foods such as cheese, yogurt, wine, dried meat, pickles, apple cider, and many herbal dietary supplements harmful for humans?
November 8, 2010