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
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Watch videos about food additives

  • The Safer Cinnamon
    The Safer Cinnamon
    There are four common types of cinnamon: Vietnamese, Chinese (cassia), Indonesian, and Ceylon (true) cinnamon. Which is safest in terms of the level of coumarin, which may damage the liver at toxic...
  • Meat Additives to Diminish Toxicity
    Meat Additives to Diminish Toxicity
    How meat scientists justify their promotion of foods associated with cancer risk.
  • Vitamin C-Enriched Bacon
    Vitamin C-Enriched Bacon
    The addition of vitamin C to processed (cured) meats such as bacon may actually make them more carcinogenic.
  • Prevention Is Better Than Cured Meat
    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.
  • Are Nitrates Pollutants or Nutrients?
    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...
  • Bacon and Botulism
    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...
  • When Nitrites Go Bad
    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...
  • Is Bacon Good or Is Spinach Bad?
    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...
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