Preservatives and food additives harmless or harmful
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Preservatives and food additives harmless or harmful
Preservatives and Food Additives;
Harmless or Harmful?
What does a natural ingredient/
food really mean?
Below is the definition of real whole food, described by the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency:
"A natural food or ingredient of a food is not expected to contain, or to ever
have contained, an added vitamin, mineral nutrient, artificial flavouring agent
or food additive.
A natural food or ingredient of a food does not have any constituent or
fraction thereof removed or significantly changed, except the removal of
water" (CCS 2010).
The description goes on to say ; Note that some food additives,
vitamins and mineral nutrients may be derived from natural sources. Some
of these additives may be regarded as natural ingredients, in which case the
acceptable claim would be that this food contains “natural ingredients ”(CCS
Using that definition, we start to think, "Does any of the food
we eat even fit that description?"
Preservatives Don’t have to be Bad
Oil, sugar, vinegar, salt and alcohol were all
used and are still used to this day to
successfully prolong a products shelf life.
Other methods such as drying, cold storage
and lactic fermentation are, were all used by
and perhaps even our parents today.
We have all associated preservatives as something negative,
however, preservatives have been used for thousands of
years. Families back in the day would store meat by using salt.
Freeze drying, pickling food, canning food were also very
“So then, What makes food additives and
preservatives so controversial these days?”
In the age of technology and mass production scientists can
simply add cheap and effective chemicals in our food and then
produce scientific evidence to prove that it is safe in small
Which raises the question; How much is ‘small amounts’?
What are the long term health effects ?
Are all of these food additives in my food even necessary ?
Many of the food additives have been linked to ADHD in children,
increasing the risk or cancer, kidney disease, allergies and
hormone imbalance to name a few.
Why is this in my food?
Preservatives and Additives
are commonly used for two
reasons. The first being the
obvious; is to preserve food;
keep it in its original form
and to extend its shelf life.
The second being; to make
the food seem appealing by
giving it more color, or by
enhancing the taste to give
it more flavour.
There are many different
types chemicals used in our
food. We have all seen them
on our ingredient lists when
grocery shopping, and they
are often the words we cant
This is so confusing !
There are hundreds of opinions out there, but they can mainly be categorized into two groups
Food additives harmful
The concept is; the generations
before us haven't nearly faced as
many problems we are facing
today in terms of obesity, cancer,
and the millions of other diseases
and health problems out there.
Thus their eating habits were the
right healthy habits.
Food Additives are Harmless
The concept is; Scientists go
out of their way to insure that what
we are eating is safe and will not
cause any long term effects of any
For this reason; there are many mixed reviews surrounding
this topic, all over the internet, and it is hard to decide what
Pure vs. Artificial
The term "pure" or "100% pure" can be used to modify an ingredient name
appearing in the common name of a food such as "pure vegetable oil" or "pure
vegetable oil margarine". The claim can also be worded so that it refers specifically
to a named ingredient in the food. The claim "made with pure corn oil with added
preservative" implies that the corn oil used was pure, before the preservative was
added to the final product. (CCS 2010)
Quote taken from Canadian Food Inspection Agency website
The main reason why many consumers
feel food additives are harmful is because of this.
What may look like bread is in fact:
Whole grain wheat including
the germ, water, whole grain
blend, Sugar/Glucose, Yeast,
raisin syrup, wheat gluten,
whole grain oats, fancy
molasses, soluble raisin syrup
(Raisin solids, Water), Salt,
Vegetable oil (Canola, or
Propionate, Sodium Stearoyl-2-
Lactylate, Acetylated Tartaric
Acid Esters of Mono and
May Contain Soybean and
Sample taken from Whole grain Bread
The big words on the ingredient
list is very intimidating for many
people, and the big, long, hard
to pronounce, words make it
seem like a chemistry lab.
This is what Bread is made from:
1. 15g dried yeast
2. 1 Tbsp sugar
3. 750g strong white bread flour
4. 750g malted flour
5. 750ml lukewarm water
6. 1/2 Tbsp salt
7. 2 Tbsp oil (olive or sunflower) or 2 Tbsp
That was back in the old days,
when bread was actually bread.
So here comes the question:
Why are all these big
words on the ingredient
list? Is the regular recipe
for bread not good
Here is when it gets
Modified milk ingredients, cheese (milk, modified milk
ingredients, salt, bacteria culture, microbial enzymes,
calcium chloride, colour lapis), Water, Sodium Citrate,
Sodium Phosphates, Maltodextrin, Carrageenan, Cellulose
Gum, Lactic Acid, Colour, Sorbic Acid,
May contain Sodium alginate, Ground mustard, Spice, and
Sample taken from processed cheese.
The Different Types of Ingredients(
According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration
Preservatives Ex. Citric Acid, Calcium propionate
Prevents food from spoiling
Ex. Gelatine, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum
Produce uniform texture
Sweeteners Ex. Sucrose, Fructose, Glucose
Adds sweetness without extra calories
Gases Ex. Carbon dioxide, nitrous Acid
Serves as a propellant, creates carbonation
Colour Additives Ex. FD&C Nos. 1 and 2
Makes food look more appealing
Enzyme Preparations Ex. Rennet, Lactase, Enzymes
Modify proteins, polysaccharides, and fats
Flavour enhancers Ex. Monosodium Glutamate
Enhance flavours already present
Firming Agents Ex. Calcium Chloride, Calcium Lactate
Maintains crispness and firmness
Fat Replacers Ex. Xanthan Gum, egg white protien
Keeps taste and flavour in fat reduced foods
Yeast Nutrients Ex. Calcium Sulfate, ammonium phosphate
Promotes growth of yeast
Added Nutrients Ex. Vitamin D, Amino Acids, Folic Acid
Replaces nutrients loss during food processing
Humectants Ex. Glycerin, sorbitol
Emulsifiers Ex. Mono and diglycerides, egg yokes
Allows smooth mixing, prevents separating
Flavours and Spices Ex. Natural flavours, artificial flavours, spices
Adds flavour to food
Ex. Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Carbonate
Controls acidity, and alkalinity
Leavening Agents Ex. Baking soda, monocalcium phosphate
Promotes rising of baked goods
Okay.. So Which Ones Should I
Stay Away From?
Up next are the most
preservatives in our
controversies, and the
science behind it all.
Milk /Modified Milk
What is the Difference?
As I was researching this, I found a quote that I would
like to share;
“If you’re lucky, the modified milk ingredient in your ice
cream is simply powdered milk. More likely it’s casein
(factory-extracted milk proteins), or whey proteins, or
even a butter oil compound. The butter-oil compound,
according to a recent CBC Marketplace report, is 49%
butter-oil and 51% sugar.” (CCS 2010)
Not to mention all the hormones injected into the
cows...makes you wonder if your still even drinking milk.
Quote taken from a Brooklin Naturopath website.
“Xanthan Gum is a microbial
polysaccharide derived from the bacterium
Phew! Now that was one hard sentence. As listed
earlier, Xanthan gum falls under two functions; as a
Thickener, Stabilizer, texturizer and a Fat replacer.
It can be used with or as a substitute for Gelatine
and Guar Gum. This ingredient is considered safe,
and there doesn’t seem to be any thing that
suggests otherwise. Xanthan gum is great for
people who are allergic to gluten. However there
are some people who are allergic to Xanthan gum
itself, and they may experience some mild
symptoms upon digestion.
It doesn't take much to realise that the word
'artificial' on a food label is equivalent to : Not
good for you. However, not many people
take the time to realise how really bad it is.
Artificial colors are a derivative of
Petrochemicals and Coal tar and some are
even derived from insects (CCS 2010)! That
does not sound in any way appetizing, and in
any way healthy.
Children are highly exposed to artificial
colors and that comes as no surprise with all
the commercials advertising fake fruit drinks,
candy, and the millions of other junk we
classify as ‘food' these days. There have
also been many claims that artificial food
colors can cause depression, anxiety, and is
the main cause attention deficit disorder.
Instead of artificial coloring, why not use naturally occurring spices, that not only look great,
but smell and taste great too. There are hundreds of spices from around the world that
produce many wonderful colors, many of them can be purchases in your local grocery store.
Spices like; Saffron, Turmeric, Batanin, Paprika, and red sandal wood are just a few of the
many selections to choose from.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Many of us have already heard a thing or two about MSG
and most likely it was not some thing positive. MSG has a
bad reputation these days, with many people questioning
its' safety. However, According to the Heath Canada
website, MSG has been studied world wide, biologists have
conducted thorough research and have not found one shred
of evidence linking obesity to consumption of MSG.
The website goes on to further explain that; "Monosodium
glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of the naturally
occurring amino acid, glutamic acid which makes up 10 to
25 % of all food protein, from both animal and vegetable
sources. In addition to being an ingredient intentionally
added to foods, glutamate occurs as a natural part of
proteins, including vegetable and animal proteins." (CCS
There have been many claims of scientific evidence
supporting the dangers of MSG, listing many side effects
and long term health effects. A good book to read would be,
Excitotoxins - The Taste That Kills by Russell L. Blaylock.
This book highlights all the important facts you need to
know about MSG and its effect on your body.
Monosodium Glutamate is also listed with different names such as:
hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), hydrolyzed soy
protein (HSP), soya sauce or autolysed yeast extracts.
citrated calcium carbamide/ Sodium Citrate /
Citric acid is naturally found in citrus fruits, and is used as a
preservative. It is widely used in the world of the food
industry, for balancing pH levels, enhancing flavouring,
increasing the effectiveness of other preservatives present,
and controlling sugar inversion. According to the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency, "citric acid is not a flavour but acts
only as an acidulant when used in conjunction with natural
flavours" (CCS 2010).
This ingredient is considered to be safe and is used in many products including; beverages, candy,
shampoo’s and cleaning agents, and everything else you could possibly think of.
However some individuals may experience allergic reactions, and this comes as a great
disadvantage due to its popularity.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
This one also has a very
scandalous reputation , and it is
also the most common added
sweetener in processed foods
and drinks (CCS 1998). With 55%
Fructose, and 45% Glucose, it
goes through a long process to
reach the final product.
Personally, I don’t know what to
think about this sweetener, so I
have added a video to let the
experts share their opinion.
Wait, There’s more
o Calcium Propionate
Keeps bread and baked goods from spoiling by preventing mould and bacterial growth
o Potassium Bromate
An additive that increases the volume and crumb of bread, is banned worldwide except in the U.S. and Japan.
o Sodium Nitrite
Makes meat look red rather than gray, and gives meat an overly long shelf life of months. Clinically proven to
cause leukemia, brain tumors and other forms of cancer.
o Benzoic Acid
Inhalation affects nervous system and is moderately toxic by ingestion. Severe eye and skin irritant. Used as a
food preservative and in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
o Acesulfame K
Sugar substitute found in pudding, chewing gum, non-dairy
creamers, instant coffee mixes, tea mixes and gelatine desserts.
May increase cancer in humans.
Can cause reactions in asthmatics, and lead to death. Sulphites
are now banned on all foods except raw potatoes, wine and dried
Taken from Pure Zing.
I do not know the future, nor do I claim that I know what will happen
in the future, but some thing tells me that:
Twenty years from now, science will finally come to realise what we
knew thousands of years ago.
When will we realise, home made food is healthier, tastier and just
plain better? When will we realise that we pay the price for
‘convenience’ food with our health?
We will one day realise;
what we are eating, was
not really what we thought
we were eating, but
simply a copied image of
the real thing.
[CCS] 1998. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. What are the health concerns about high-fructose corn syrup?
< http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/AN01588 > (November 21st 2010)
[CCS] 2010. Food Additives; Ameliorating the Flavors,Enriching the Food. Food coloring.
<http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/articles/food-coloring.html> (November 17th 2010)
[CCS] 2010. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Food Ingredients and Colors
< http://www.fda.gov/food/foodingredientspackaging/ucm094211.htm > (November 20th 2010)
[CCS] 2010. Wisegeek. What is Food Coloring Made of?
<http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-food-coloring-made-of.htm> (November 17th 2010)
[CCS] 2010. Brooklin Naturopath. What are modified milk ingredients?
<http://www.brooklinnaturopath.ca/photos/custom/webstuff/What%20are%20modified%20milk%20ingredients.pdf > (November 20th
[CCS] 2010. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Chapter 4 - Composition, Quality, Quantity and Origin Claims.
<http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/guide/ch4ae.shtml#a4_10 > ( November 18th 2010)
[CCS] 2010. Pure Zing. List of the More Widely Known Dangerous Ingredients in Body & Food Products.
< http://www.purezing.com/living/toxins/living_toxins_dangerousingredients.html> (November 21st
[CCS] 2010. New York Times; Fitness and Nutrient. Nutrition: MSG Use Is Linked to Obesity.
< http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/health/nutrition/26nutr.html?_r=1 > (November 21st 2008)