10 dangerous Food Additives to avoid

Tuesday Sep 20, 2011 | Dr. Said | Comments Off on 10 dangerous Food Additives to avoid

Food additives are substances intentionally added to food during manufacturing to increase the the desirability of the finished product. Additives can alter the color, texture and stability of the food or reduce the spoilage time. There are approximately 2000 different types of additives. The standard American diet includes 3-5 pounds of those additives per year. Additives can be toxic chemicals that can give rise to a number of symptoms. The most common are psychological or neurological such as depression, headaches, mental dysfunction,mental illness or abnormal nerve reflexes. Preservatives accumulate in body fat. The most common allergic reaction experienced is hives.


BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) / BHT (butylated hyroxloluene);

BHA and BHT are antioxidants. Oxygen reacts preferentially with BHA or BHT rather than oxidizing fats or oils, thereby protecting them from spoilage. In addition to being oxidizable, BHA and BHT are fat-soluble. Both molecules are incompatible with ferric salts. In addition to preserving foods, BHA and BHT are also used to preserve fats and oils in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Sodium Benzoates;

it is a widely used food preservative, with E number E211. It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid and exists in this form when dissolved in water. It can be produced by reacting sodium hydroxide with benzoic acid.  Benzoic acid and benzoates are widely used and are commonly found in shrimp and farm raised fish is extremely high amounts.

There is much more concern over the issue of sodium benzoate in Britain. Professor Piper of Sheffield University says that his studies of sodium benzoate in laboratory tests suggest that it can create free radicals and damage cells. While it is already linked with leukemia, new research suggests is may lead to cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson’s disease.

In 2000 the World Health Organization reported that there are many studies showing that sodium benzoate can cause hives, asthma and anaphylactic shock in sensitive people.


Sulfites are a group of sulfur-based compounds that may occur naturally or may be added to food as an enhancer and preservative. The FDA estimates that one out of 100 people is sensitive to the compounds. Typically used to prevent browning, color changes, or microbial spoilage. Commonly sprayed on fresh fruits, vegetable, and fresh shrimp.The average person in U.S consumes 2-3 mg per day. If restaurants are the main source of meals, then an average of 150 mg per day is consumed.

 Sodium nitrites and Sodium nitrits:

Nitrit-nitrate toxicity is due to its affinity for the oxygen carrying molecule in the blood, hemoglobin. Nitrates convert hemoglobin to methemeglobin which causes problems with oxygen transport. Heating nitrites or their coming into contact with stomach acids converts nitrites to nitromines a substances known to cause stomach cancer. Adding nitrite to meat is only part of the curing process. ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) is added because of its effect on flavor. Sugar is added to reduce the harshness of salt. Spices and other flavorings often added to achieve a characteristic brand flavor. Most, but not all, cured meat products are smoked often the curing process to import a smoked meat flavor. Sodium nitrite, rather than sodium nitrate, is most commonly used for curing (although in some product, such as country ham, sodium nitrate is used because of the long period. In a series of normal reactions, nitrite is converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide combines with myoglobin, the pigment responsible for the natural red color of uncured meat. Combined they form nitric oxide myoglobin, which is a deep red color (as in uncooked dry sausage) that change to the characteristic bright pink normally associated with cured and smoked meat (such as wieners and ham) when heated during the smoking process. Potassium nitrite is a type of nitrite that is commonly employed as food preservative, while potassium nitrate is commonly employed as a synthetic food preservative and color fixative. It is also the active ingredient in most toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

Monosodium glutamate:

It enhances the flavor of protein by exciting the taste buds. It can overexcite the nerve ending and cause symptoms referred as “Chinese restaurant syndrome”. Symptoms are reported as a burning sensation in back of neck, headaches, chest tightness, diarrhea and flushing of face.



These are aspirin like compounds used to increase or enhance  the flavor foods. Those allergic to aspirin can experience reaction from eating food high in salicylates such as curry powder, paprika, thyme,  dill, oregano, and turmeric. It is also found in the following prepared foods: Cake mixes, pudding, Ice cream, gum, soft drinks and most dried fruits and berries.

Food coloring:

Artificial dyes are widely used in foods, beverages and drugs. The most common coloring agents used are called AZO dyes (dyes impregnated with nitrate). Most are petroleum products derived from coal tar. Certain tissues in the body are more susceptible to dyes, especially those that have a quick turnover such as the cornea of the eye, tissue in the mouth, tissue lining the stomach and small intestine, and blood and lymph tissue. Out of 33 know coloring agents, the following are the most commonly used.

Blue No. 2: Found in high amounts in cat food and soda pop, it is implicated in causing brain cancer.

Citrus red: Found in Florida oranges

Green No. 3: Implicated in Thyroid cancer. Found in lime drink and soda.

Yellow No. 6: Implicated in Kidney cancer. Found in soda pop and candy.

Yellow No. 5: Tartrazine- high in allergic responses and ADD (attention deficit disorder). Those allergic to aspirin might be allergic to tartrazine. Tartrazine sensitivity is common in individuals (around 20-50%). It is a known inducer of asthma medications (aminophyline) and in some sedatives, steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics. Some vitamins can also contain tartrazine.

Other food containing tartrazine are: Orange drinks, Gelatin desserts, Italian dressing, Cake mixes and icing, Seasoning salt and Macaroni and cheese.