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Friday, October 21, 2011

Food Additives: 26 Categories

Since 1938, the FDA has had the legal power and authority to regulate and oversee the safety of our food in this country and monitor food additives through the United States Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

As part of this regulation, 26 categories have been identified for substances that are routinely added to our foods. Some of these are generally recognized to be safe and some of these have not passed that test but are added to food products anyway.

It is somewhat shocking to discover what some food producers feel are necessary to add to our edible items in order to make them more desirable. To illustrate this point, apparently, we want our food to have the perfect taste, texture, color, mixture, thickness, acidity, freshness and feel or we won't buy it.

So, food manufacturers will add things like anti-foaming agents to food that might otherwise become foamy. Anti-caking agents are added to keep powders free flowing. Bulking agents, thickeners, and stabilizers are added to give the right texture to food. Emulsifiers make sure that certain ingredients don't separate after processing and packaging.

Colorings, preservatives, flavorings and flavor enhancers, like MSG, do their job of bringing you a fresh, pretty and delectable presentation. Humectants, like propylene glycol, allow your food to appear fresh and moist when the preservative has lost its energy and it would otherwise be dried out.

One of the scariest food additives is color retention agents. Their job is to hide imperfections that would normally cause the average person to turn up their nose and refrain from making a purchase. A good example of this is whitening added to milk to hide the fact that some cows are sick and bleeding into their milking pails.

Or, red dye injected into tomatoes that are picked way too early, rushed to market to meet some growers budget demands because they wouldn't normally sell to large groups of the population that don't care for fried green tomatoes. Acids make foods taste sharper or more distinct and sweeteners make foods taste sweeter. If sour is what you like, there's an additive for that, too.

Many food additives are known to greatly increase the symptoms of ADHD, autism and bipolar and possibly even cause them to begin with. In 2007, a team of researchers funded by Britain's Food Standard Agency concluded that food additives markedly increased hyperactivity behaviors and symptoms.

The following year, the American Academy of Pediatrics determined and published that a low food additive diet was a valid intervention for children with ADHD. Once again, it just might be a good idea to pick out a spot in your backyard, if you have one, and grow yourself a little garden of fresh, natural fruits and vegetables, without all the food additives.

Maybe, get a chicken or two and add fresh eggs and meat to your diet, without hormones, antibiotics and other unnatural, abnormal and actually quite frightening...food additives.

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