Answer: They are chemically altered ingredients added to food for various reasons.
Additives are used to:
Some additives are derived from natural sources, e.g., sugar, and some from synthetic sources, e.g., aspartame, which can be found in NutraSweet and Equal.
Preservatives are added to foods to discourage spoilage and minimize any fungus growth.
Some Additives and Preservatives/ Harmful Effects
Formaldehyde was one of the first preservatives. It is also a byproduct of aspartame metabolism. Formaldehyde has been linked to cancer and allergies, among other things. It’s biggest use? Embalming us after we die.
Other Harmful Effects
How Much Are We Consuming?
Approximately a billion pounds of additives and preservatives are put into our food annually. It is estimated the average American consumes over 50 pounds a year.
Artificial and refined sugar consumption is at an all-time high at 156 pounds a year. We add almost 30 pounds ourselves with the rest coming from processed foods.
Over 75% of our salt intake is from processed foods, with consumption levels well over nutritional guidelines.
These chemicals are tested, right?
The FDA tests very small amounts of these additives and preservatives to determine their level of safety. They are categorized under GRAS, generally recognized as safe. There have been no long-term studies conducted nor have there been studies on the interaction of these chemicals when consumed together. It’s possible they are building up in our systems because our body is unable to recognize them, therefore unable to use or excrete them.
The FDA has placed warnings on some additives and has actually banned at least 13 artificial colors.
What can I do?
In this day and age of a pop tart store in Times Square it can seem like a losing battle.
Pop tarts contain more additives and preservatives than most any other food. Read the label (if you can). Yet this is what we are feeding our kids as part of some breakfast tradition. Tradition of what? Obesity and chronic disease?
How can you avoid all of this? It’s pretty simple. Consume whole foods, foods with ingredients you can pronounce and ingredients you actually recognize. Things like apples, bananas, potatoes and natural products. KUTOA bars contain no additives or preservatives. They do contain 100% organic oats, fresh fruit and nuts; healthy foods we can all understand.