Lewis Herridge, Contributor
Most of the items we purchase in traditional supermarkets are processed and contain additives. Man-made preservatives give food and cosmetics a longer shelf life, which allows manufacturers to broaden distribution and bring in bigger revenue. Many of these additives are considered safe by the Food Standards Agency (FSA- UK) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but much independent research suggest very different results.
For centuries people have preserved food by using salts, vinegars, herbs, boiling, refrigeration, root cellars, and other means. Now, food manufacturers utilize an array of specialized chemicals to increase shelf-life and to maintain ‘freshness.’ Five of the worst additives for your health and their side-effects are listed below:
Variations; Benzoic acid (E 210) Sodium Benzoates (E211) Potassium Benzoates (E212) Calcium Benzoates (E213)
Uses; a preservative to prevent the food from moulding.
Used in; Pickles, Salad dressings, Fruit Juices, Soft drinks, Jams and Jelly
Side effects/ Connected to; Hyperactivity; Dizziness, light-headedness, trouble sleeping; Damage to DNA which is connected to Parkinson and ageing.
Notes; Research published in 2007 for the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) suggests that certain artificial colours, when paired with sodium benzoate (E211) may be linked to hyperactive behaviour. The results were inconsistent regarding sodium benzoate, so the FSA recommended further study.
It is currently approved for use in Canada, the USA, the EU, Austalia, and New Zealand.
Carcinogen? In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate may form benzene, a known carcinogen. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.
Variations; Sodium Nitrites (E250) (E251), Potassium Nitrites (E249) (E252)
Uses; Preserve food colour in meats, prevent it from going rancid, stop bacteria growing
Used in; Hotdogs, sausages, cold cuts of meats (hams, bacon etc.)
Side effects/ Connected to; Irritability, lack of energy, headaches, dizziness. Pregnancy complications, Infant health problems; Linked with Leukaemia, many cancers such as colon, bladder, stomach, thyroid etc.
Notes; Vitamin C reduces the conversion of Nitrite. Occurs naturally in small doses.
Carcinogen? When cooked can convert into Nitrosamines which can cause cancer
Variations; E220, E221, E222 E223, E224, E225, E226, E227, E228
Uses; Acts as a preservative to prevent bacterial growth.
Used in; Ready meals, Pizza and pie crusts, Wine, beer, canned vegetables, oven chips, dried fruits
Side effects/ Connected to; can be mistaken for hay fever; runny nose, itchy eyes and wheezing cough. 1 in 10 people will have a reaction of some sort eg. Rashes, itching, restricted breathing, asthmatic attacks, hives, cramps.
Notes; Destroys Vitamin B1 (Thiamine).
Uses; A preservative that does not change the taste, smell, colour and prevents yeast from growing.
Used in; Dried meats, wine, cheese, yogurts, baked goods, dips, margarine
Side effects/ Connected to; Hypersensitivity (reaction, allergy) to mouth, throat, eyes. Migraine/ headache.
Notes; relatively harmful compared with other additives. Can be found naturally in Rowen berries.
Carcinogen? Does not appear so.
Also known as; E951
Uses; An artificial sweetener.
Used in; Drinks sweeteners, ‘Diet’ or ‘light’ anything eg. Soda and yogurts; chewing gum, cooking sauces, drinks powers, energy drinks. Can be found in certain vitamins.
Side effects/ Connected to; Headaches/ migraines, alters levels of serotonin and causes behavioural problems, Depression; Blurred vision, Eye pains, Diabetes, emotional and mood disorders; Changes the chemistry of the brain, Convulsions, Seizures, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. Linked to Cancers and Brain tumours.
Notes; Research suggest that it increases hungers by confusing the brain and impedes weight loss.
Carcinogen; Yes, linked with cancers.
High sugar diet
Additionally, a high sugar intake has long been considered bad for you as it is connected to obesity and weight gain but it is also bad for your brain and results in an impairment to think clearly, maintain even moods and behave effectively in social situations. Withdrawal, anxiety, delinquency and aggression are twice as likely in those that consume soft drinks, sugary snacks and ice cream.
To completely avoid these additives would be perhaps unrealistic considering many peoples fast paced and complex lifestyles. But we can certainly reduce our intake to the bear minimum and additives such as Aspartame can be removed easily with a little pre-planning. Avoid these where possible to help maintain a clear head and a healthy body. Eat organic or locally grown foods if possible and cook using basic and fresh ingredients. Many farm shops are not actually that expensive, particularly for fresh fruit and vegetables but they are often not as convenient to get to as a chain supermarket. This is the price you pay, but think of all the extra health benefits you shall gain and the positive affect it will have. You are what you eat!
About the Author
Lewis Herridge is the founder of Re-Evolving Earth a socially aware organisation that educates people about their natural state; He believes that by using the principles of nature and of our past, we can all live happier, healthier and more contented lives and fast track our spiritual development. Please visit; http://www.re-evolvingearth.com/.
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